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Thursday, Nov. 11

Illinois basketball signs Jamar Smith     Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 11, 2004]  CHAMPAIGN -- University of Illinois men's basketball coach Bruce Weber announced Wednesday the signing of Jamar Smith to a national letter of intent on the first day of the fall signing period.

Smith, a 6-foot-3 inch, 175-pound shooting guard, is a senior at Peoria Richwoods High School under the direction of head coach Mike Ellis. The Peoria Journal Star named Smith to its five-player Class AA All-Star Team last season after he led the Mid-State 6 Conference in scoring, averaging 19.8 points. Smith started all 29 games for the Knights, scoring 20 or more points in 15 contests and recording 77 3-pointers on the year. He garnered first-team all-state honors from the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and was a third-team all-state selection by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. In addition, Smith received all-state accolades from the Chicago Tribune (special mention) and Associated Press (honorable mention).

"Jamar is a tremendous shooter," Illini head coach Bruce Weber said. "He knows how to play well without the ball, which should make a good transition to our motion offense. Coach Ellis at Richwoods has done a nice job of teaching Jamar how to play with and without the ball. He is athletic, with good bounce. Like most players coming out of high school, putting on weight and adding strength will be important for Jamar. He is a quality kid and a good student. We're also excited to continue our relationship with the Peoria high schools."

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Smith continues the tradition of Peoria's top prep players signing with Illinois. Since Jerry Hester first suited up for the Illini in the fall of 1993, Illinois carries a current streak of having at least one Peoria native on its roster for 12 straight seasons. Smith will become the fifth Richwoods product to wear the Orange and Blue and the first since former UI guard Doug Altenberger lettered from 1983-85 and '87.

[Derrick Burson, assistant sports information director, University of Illinois]

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