East Tennessee State added another junior college player to its basketball recruiting class on Wednesday, signing Leonard Smith Jr. of Gulf Coast State College.
Smith, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound forward, played the last two seasons for the school in Panama City, Fla. He averaged 13 points and nine rebounds in 2012-13 and was a second-team All-Panhandle Conference selection.
Smith is the third juco player ETSU heach coach Murry Bartow has signed this year. He joins Darius Forrest, a 6-6 forward out of Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Jalen Riley, a 6-0 guard from Sauk Valley Community College. Devin Harris and A.J. Merriweather are the true freshmen in the class.
“The biggest thing that jumps out when you watch Leonard play is that he is a very competitive kid,” Bartow said. “He will bring an air of toughness and tenacity to our team — which is something we need.
“He’s not a guy with a true position, and we’ve had a lot of guys like that in our program who aren’t a 3 or a 4, but fit somewhere in between. He’s a good passer and defender, and a capable shooter, and we really like his strength. He has the ability to play in the post and be an inside/outside guy for us. We think he will be a good addition to our team.”
Gulf Coast finished 20-9 overall and 5-7 in the Panhandle Conference last year. Smith started 28 of those games.
Three of Smith’s Gulf Coast teammates have also signed with Division 1 schools: Chad Frazier with UAB; Zachary Reynolds with Northern Arizona and Jose Rodriguez with Texas Southern. Teammate Dylan Smith went to Dalton State, an NAIA school.
Smith is from Hickman, Ky., where played high school ball at Fulton County from 2007-11. He set school records with 1,903 points and 1,156 rebounds, and was a consitent pick on the all-district and all-region teams. He finished his senior season averaging 19.9 points, 11.8 rebound, 3.3 assists and 3.0 steals per game.
“I bring hard work, effort, and desire to any team I play on,” said Smith, who was also a two-sport standout at the prep level as a highly-recruited quarterback. “Wherever I can help and whatever the coaches want I will do it. For me, it’s about working every day to reach another level and to better my game.”