Former five-star recruit Josh Smith will transfer from UCLA to Georgetown, CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman reported Wednesday morning.
Smith was one of the most coveted recruits in the class of 2010, but struggled with weight problems and consistency in his two-plus seasons with the Bruins.
The 6-foot-10, 300-plus-pound center averaged 10.9 points and 6. 3 rebounds per game as a freshman, but his numbers have dipped since. He averaged 9.9 points and 4.9 rebounds last season, and was averaging 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds this year before quitting the team after six games.
Smith’s transfer to Georgetown could be good news for Kentucky.
UK, Syracuse and Georgetown are the three finalists for Dakari Johnson, the No. 1 uncommitted center in the class of 2013. Smith is expected to be eligible to play for the Hoyas in January 2014, and both he and Johnson will be looking to start immediately. His addition to a roster already loaded with underclassmen in the frontcourt could be enough to make Johnson look elsewhere.
Syracuse is in a similar situation. The Orange have three big men averaging more than 15 minutes per game this season: Rakeem Christmas, Dajuan Coleman and Baye Moussa Keita. All three of those players are underclassmen, and none are projected to be drafted this year, according to the latest mock from DraftExpress.com. The Orange have also signed three-star center Chinonso Obokoh from the class of 2013.
UK, on the other hand, has Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein currently in the post, with no commitments from centers for 2013. Noel will almost certainly leave for the NBA after this season, and many think Cauley-Stein could be a first-round pick if he enters the draft.
Johnson’s mother spoke to ZagsBlog in November about how current players and recruits could affect her son’s decision.
“It’s like if they’re there and the guys that they have signed are there, then it’s kind of like, does it make sense?” she said of Syracuse. “Would he be impactful there? Will there be a need for a player like Dakari?
“You kind of want to go somewhere where you’re needed.”