University of Missouri

Mizzou lands Evansville transfer point guard before Courtney Ramey picks Texas

Missouri transfer Dru Smith played for Marty Simmons (right) at Evansville, as did MU assistant coach Chris Hollender.
Missouri transfer Dru Smith played for Marty Simmons (right) at Evansville, as did MU assistant coach Chris Hollender. The Associated Press

Missouri basketball coach Cuonzo Martin continued his stockpile of talent Friday as the Tigers landed another impact transfer.

Evansville point guard Dru Smith committed to Mizzou on Friday morning, a move that knocked the Tigers out of the Courtney Ramey sweepstakes. Smith will have to sit out the 2018-19 season but will have two years of eligibility remaining. The 6-foot-4 guard took an official visit to Missouri this week.

Smith averaged 13.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game as a sophomore for the Purple Aces while shooting 48.2 percent from three-point range, which led the Missouri Valley Conference. He also led the conference in steals per game, with two.

At Evansville, Smith played for coach Marty Simmons, who also coached Missouri assistant Chris Hollender in college. Hollender was a standout player at Evansville, where he later coached under Simmons from 2009-12.

Smith's commitment leaves Missouri without any scholarships to give, but they could add one if Jontay Porter stays in the NBA Draft. Blake Hinson, a wing from Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, took an official visit to Missouri this week ahead of Smith's. The Tigers are in good shape to land his commitment.

Missouri already has Illinois transfer Mark Smith sitting out this upcoming season. The addition of Dru Smith likely means the 2018-19 season will be more of a transition year for the Tigers with a chance for a more loaded team in 2019-20 should Missouri land some of its top 2019 recruits, such as E.J. Liddell.

The Tigers could also get creative with their lineup once both Smiths are eligible because they both can play either guard spot.

Dru Smith joins a recruiting class alongside Mark Smith, Xavier Pinson, Torrence Watson, Javon Pickett and K.J. Santos. Assuming Hinson commits to Missouri, rising senior Jordan Geist and Pinson will be the only scholarship point guards on the roster.

Dru Smith's commitment likely wraps up Missouri's 2018 recruiting outside of Hinson after Ramey committed to Texas on Friday afternoon, picking the Longhorns over Missouri, Oklahoma State and Louisville. Missouri originally was going to wait for Ramey to decide before taking any guards but that didn't stop them from taking both Smiths.

A consensus top-50 recruit, Ramey decommitted from Louisville in the wake of the FBI scandal. The point guard visited Missouri for the regular-season finale against Arkansas but didn't make a return trip to campus, despite Martin and assistant coach Chris Hollender watching Ramey extensively during the state playoffs.

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