Adam Smith, who was a freshman guard at UNC Wilmington last season, told he made a verbal commitment to the Hokies today and will transfer to Virginia Tech.
“It’s very exciting,” Smith said after he visited Tech today. “I’ve always wanted to play at the high major level and the ACC, that’s about as good as it gets.”
Smith averaged 13.7 points last season, earning a spot on the Colonial Athletic Association all-rookie team. He was the second-leading scorer for a UNCW squad that went 10-21, 6-14. He was the leading scorer among the conference’s freshmen.
“I’m bringing a burst of offense,” he said. “I can really score the ball. I can handle the ball as well. I’m very explosive on the offensive end in all aspects.”
He shot 37.9 percent from the field, including 33.1 percent from 3-point range.
In nonleague games against two ACC teams, he scored 23 points at Maryland and 32 points at Wake Forest.
“I’m not worried at all [about jumping from the CAA to the ACC],” he said. “We played two ACC teams this year in Wake and Maryland and I fared pretty well against them.”
Smith was an off-guard at UNCW but said he will be a combo guard at Tech, just like he was in high school.
“Really what they need is scoring, and that’s what I do,” he said. “I feel comfortable at both [guard] positions. It really just depends on who’s on the court with me. If there’s a straight point guard on the court distributing the ball, I’ll be at the 2. If there’s another shooter, I’ll play the 1.”
The Jonesboro, Ga., native said he will have to sit out next season, so he won’t provide immediate help to a team that is down to just eight active scholarship players for coach James Johnson’s first season. Smith will have three years of eligibility beginning in 2013-14.
Tech will need some scoring after this upcoming season to replace senior-to-be Erick Green.
The 6-foot-1, 161-pound Smith was one of three UNCW players who asked for their release after the season.
He averaged 26.2 points and 5 assists as a high school senior, when he was one of 10 players named a second-team All-American by Parade magazine.
“I was overlooked by a lot of high major schools” when he was in high school, Smith said. “I signed early my senior year, and later a few ACC teams came — Florida State, Georgia Tech came to a few games. I had a really good senior year.”
When Smith picked UNCW in the fall of his senior year, The College of Charleston was one of his other finalists (along with ETSU, George Mason and Chattanooga). Mark Byington was the recruiter for The College of Charleston back then. He recently joined Johnson’s staff, and that is when Tech began courting Smith. He had talked to Byington “a bit” about transferring from UNCW to Charleston before Byington switched colleges.
Another new assistant, Kurt Kanaskie, had recruited him for Penn State back when Smith was in high school (but he had already picked UNCW).
“I just felt really comfortable with everyone on the [VT] coaching staff,” Smith said. “Coach Johnson’s a really cool dude. … Coach Byington, Coach Kanaskie and Coach Williams, I’ve built a relationship with them all.”
Smith did not want to say what other schools he considered in the transfer process. He also did not want to say why he is leaving UNCW. He said he could have stayed if he wanted.