Mount St. Mary’s forward Andrew Smeathers will not return for his senior season, a source inside the Mountaineers program told Big Apple Buckets yesterday. Smeathers has graduated from Mount St. Mary’s and will attend graduate school elsewhere without pursuing Division I basketball any further due to injury.
What began as a career full of promise at Butler ended prematurely because of the 6’8” forward’s inability to stay healthy. After transferring from Butler to Mount St. Mary’s and regaining full eligibility on December 20, 2014, Smeathers missed eight games because of injury and played the final seven while still suffering from a stress fracture in one of his legs.
The oft-injured forward averaged 8.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game as a Mountaineer, but wasn’t terribly efficient when on the floor. His 92.2 offensive rating, sunken by a high turnover rate (22.8%) and mediocre shooting percentage (33.9%), was the fourth lowest on the Mountaineers roster last season, ahead of only Kristijan Krajina and the offensively challenged, at least at times, Khalid Nwandu and Charles Glover.
It wasn’t supposed to end this way, especially amid reports that the highly skilled shooter was dominating practice back in November/December:
Hearing on press row that Andrew Smeathers, the Butler transfer who’s eligible to play next week, is Mount St. Mary’s best player.
— Ryan Peters (@pioneer_pride) December 13, 2014
In the early going, Smeathers lived up to this billing as a game changer, averaging 11.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 triples per game. His unique collection of size, skill and shooting prowess at the “3” certainly created mismatch issues for the smaller NEC programs. That much was evident in perhaps the best and final “healthy” game of his collegiate career – on January 10th he torched St. Francis Brooklyn with 22 points after making six of seven three-point attempts.
From there, however, a vague leg injury turned stress fracture forced Smeathers to miss the next eight games. When he did return, he was far from 100% and his game suffered as a result. He concluded his career having averaged 3.2 ppg, 0.4 rpg and 0.3 apg in 57 games.
Moving forward, the Mount’s depth chart now looks something like this:
PG: Junior Robinson, Charles Glover, Marcell Haskett
SG: Byron Ashe, Khalid Nwandu
F: Will Miller, Chris Wray, Chris Manning
PF: Gregory Graves, Mawdo Sallah
PF: Taylor Danaher, Troy Henderson
As currently constructed with five upperclassmen, two of whom as All-NEC third team recipients (Ashe and Graves) and a NEC All-Rookie selection (Robinson), the Mount appear to be the second best team in the league, behind only Robert Morris, the defending champions.
With Smeathers, Chris Martin (he transferred to Savannah State earlier this offseason) and Krajina (graduation) no longer in the rotation, Jamion Christian still returns 73.8% of his scoring and 69.8% of his rebounding from last season. A starting five of Robinson, Ashe, Miller, Graves and Danaher should be a formidable starting lineup inside a conference that’s once again experiencing a fair amount of turnover this offseason.
You can follow Ryan on Twitter @pioneer_pride