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]