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Mark Smith to transfer from Illinois after one season

Mark+Smith+drives+towards+the+basket+during+Illinois%27+72-66+win+over+Nebraska+in+a+sold+out+State+Farm+Center+on+February+18.
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Mark Smith to transfer from Illinois after one season

Mark Smith drives towards the basket during Illinois' 72-66 win over Nebraska in a sold out State Farm Center on February 18.

Mark Smith drives towards the basket during Illinois' 72-66 win over Nebraska in a sold out State Farm Center on February 18.

Ethan Scholl

Mark Smith drives towards the basket during Illinois' 72-66 win over Nebraska in a sold out State Farm Center on February 18.

Ethan Scholl

Ethan Scholl

Mark Smith drives towards the basket during Illinois' 72-66 win over Nebraska in a sold out State Farm Center on February 18.

By Gavin Good, Assistant sports editor

Freshman guard Mark Smith will transfer from the Illinois basketball program after one season, according to a report from Joe Henricksen of City/Suburban Hoops Report.

Illinois Athletics confirmed this on Monday afternoon in a press release.

“We thank Mark for the effort and contributions he made to our team this year,” said head coach Brad Underwood in the press release. “We wish him nothing but the best as he continues to pursue his dreams.”

Smith, an Edwardsville, Illinois, native and the 2017 Illinois Mr. Basketball winner, averaged 5.8 points in 19.1 minutes per game this season for the Illini, who went 14-18 in the season.

The former four-star recruit, who had the likes of Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State after his services, started 19 games for Illinois. His minutes decreased once Big Ten play got into full swing. He had to compete with a number of players for time on the court, including All-Big Ten Freshman Team selection Trent Frazier, fellow freshman Da’Monte Williams, sophomore Te’Jon Lucas and Wright State graduate transfer Mark Alstork.

He shot 33.7 percent from the field and 23.2 percent from 3-point range on the season while averaging 1.4 rebounds and assists per game. Against DePaul on Nov. 11, Smith led the Illini in scoring with 21 points, 12 of which came at the free-throw line.

Smith met with Underwood and members of the athletic department ahead of the decision, and he is expected to be released from his scholarship within the next few days. He will have three remaining years of NCAA eligibility, although his transfer destination is unknown at this time.

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