Mount St. Mary’s Forward Andrew Smeathers to Forgo His Senior Season

Andrew Smeathers (center) never lived up to potential thanks to injuries. (Photo credit: Carroll County Times)

Andrew Smeathers (center) never lived up to potential thanks to an injury plagued career. (Photo credit: Carroll County Times)

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:

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.

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16 thoughts on “Mount St. Mary’s Forward Andrew Smeathers to Forgo His Senior Season

  1. James

    Hmm not sure just because you return 73.8 percent of your scoring that means your going to be a good offensive team. Yes you return a lot of your percentage but that comes from a team that was 9th overall in scoring and 6th overall in scoring margin…. The key to Jamion/s offense seemed to be at its best when spreading out the court and spacing it out for his shooters to be open or his PG to have space to attack.. Thats exactly what Martin and Smeathers did they created space and you could not help off of them. They still have Ashe but now he has the burden of being the only proven shooter on the team. You lose a guy who definitely made teams respect his ability to shoot it.
    Not so sure I would have them second just by bringing back ashe robinson and graves. They need to plug in a couple holes before I believe in this team. From looking at rosters and transfers this league looks more open than it did last year when everyone thought there was parity.

    Reply
    1. Dan From Staten Island

      Miller can look impressive sticking some of those long range bombs. Down the stretch, though, he seemed out of sync offensively and didn’t appear to get as much court time. And Danaher still hasn’t shown he is capable of providing the sort of production that MSM needs from a guy that size. Still, Head Coach Jamion Christian always manages to squeeze the most out of his roster, so I wouldn’t count them out. However, think that it’s a bit iffy to anoint them as right there at this stage, especially with Smeathers exiting.

      Now that most of the league signings have been announced, think that your NEC followers might like to see your preliminary assessment of how each NEC roster stacks up. That would be an interesting read.

      Reply
    2. Ryan Peters Post author

      Appreciate the comments, James and Dan! Next year will feature a different team I believe, a Mount program that will mimic the Mayhem that got them to the NCAA tournament in 2014. They’ll play more small ball and with the long-range shooting abilities of Robinson, Ashe, Miller and Graves (who can force opposing bigs out on the perimeter), I think spacing won’t be too much of an issue next year. Also the pace should pick up quite a bit (last year they were 63 poss/gm compared to 69 the year before), so those easier to convert fast break opportunities that were absent last season, will likely be back given Christian’s comfort level with Robinson, Nwandu, Glover and Ashe applying intense 3/4s court pressure and generating turnovers.

      Sure, losing Smeathers can be construed as a big loss, but the advanced numbers showed that the slower footed Smeathers’ defense was poor, which can’t be ignored. Throw in his numerous injury issues, and it was likely best for he and the Mount to part ways.

      With all the uncertainity elsewhere in the NEC, I simply feel the Mount has enough continuity and experience to be slotted comfortably at #2. Others like LIU Brooklyn, Wagner, Sacred Heart, SFNY, SFPA, and Bryant (not necessarily in that order) have more question marks going into the 2015-16 season.

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      1. NEC Basketball Fan

        I agree with you Ryan. If the Mount make it a track meet to get easy baskets, they will be tough to beat.

        The Mount have a good mix of offensive and defensive players. I feel they will be the best offensive and defensive team in the conference. With pressuring the ball 3/4’s court and their depth will wear other teams down. Wray and Glover should be greatly improved on both sides of the ball going into their second year. Sallah, who showed signs of being a great rim protector could be a force. Nwandu is a good defender to pressure opposing guards. Ashe, Robinson, Graves, and Miller will probably lead the team in scoring. Biggest concern to me will be low-post scoring consistency.

        With Robery Morris losing Reed will be a bigger blow than they realize.

        Reply
    3. Barry Sanders

      You obviously did not watch MSM very often. Martin was a really nice person, but minimally contributory and very inconsistent. No loss. Smeathers did not fit in. Too bad, but his promise did not work out and the players this coming year will surprise you.

      Reply
  2. NEC Fan

    Not sure Mount is 2nd best team. Not even sure Robert Morris is best team. Going to be an interesting year.

    Reply
    1. Barry Sanders

      RMU has I think 6 more recruits or transfers, as in most years. What they do may work occasionally, but I don’t like the coaching or the attitude.

      Reply
  3. jason

    Byron Ashe is the only player who can get his own shot and score. This team may be in some trouble. I agree. The only way this team can live on without Martin and Smeathers is with a insane tempo. With the lower shot clock it may work but they will need player of the year stats from ashe, 3rd or 2nd team stats from Graves, and Miller to be extremely hot from three when it counts.

    Reply
  4. James

    Barry obviously your a Mount fan and thats okay but you have to look at it for what it is.. To say he was minimally a contributor is an understatement. He was the leading mount scorer off the bench at 7.4 ppg in 22 minutes of action. He helped provide instant offense and spacing for the offense to operate. To say your not gonna miss a Senior with that scoring ability is wishful thinking. Every team is going to have surprises who say Reed and Pryor being the players they were so I wont doubt they have good players coming in but they are not proven and they have to prove themselves. If the mount was the 2nd best team on paper before the transfers losing smeathers and martin cant possibly leave them in the same position…. Just as with LIU I thought they could of been 1 or 2 with all the pieces they have now They lose their starting PG and im hearing possibly some other defects will follow.. That changes their outlook as well. Going to be another fun season I sense. And I agree with you on RMU lucky jones was the heart of that team him being gone so many new players and losing read is a big blow from them. Stewart is going to have to be more of a leader

    Reply
    1. NEC Fan

      The JUCO kid for LIU is a good player – he played 22 minutes a game as a freshman at South Alabama, a level higher than the NEC. Led a good JUCO team in assists and steals and to a 25-5 record this last year. He’ll be ready to play I would think.

      Jerome Frink is a kid not a lot of people are talking about, but he is going to be a very good player in this league. Pair him with Nura Zanna, and the Blackbirds could have a Boyd/Olasewere-type duo that could cause opposing frontcourts a lot of trouble.

      Not sure what other defections you are talking about. Hood left, but he barely played. Tshibuy left, and he didn’t play. Only loss was Fridriksson, but already mentioned that the JUCO kid should be able to fill the void. Hermannsson can also play the point if necessary.

      In terms of Mount – they’re going to be tough just because of what they run and the type of defense they play. The shortened shot clock could help them, but the new rules that should eliminate hand checking and such could hurt them with foul trouble. None of those rules are official yet, though.

      And Robert Morris is going to be a whole new team once again. They caught lightning in a bottle with Reed, who was a very late addition. Minnie has the potential to be a force in the league, was never that impressed with Stewart as he can’t shoot. He does have leadership potential though. But losing Lucky Jones & Reed is big.

      I think this year might be more wide open than last year.

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      1. Dan From Staten Island

        No doubt that St. Francis Brooklyn loses a ton with the graduation of First Team All-Leaguers Jalen Cannon and Brent Jones. However, as noted in a previous article by Ryan back in March, there’s still a lot coming back.

        The Terriers compiled an impressive 15-3 slate in NEC play in 2014-15 without much of a long range outside game. The two scorers that the coaching staff was obviously counting on, Tyreek Jewell and Gunnar Olafsson, failed provide any consistent firepower from beyond the arc. Both their past histories would seem to indicate that they’ll likely regain their form after getting an initial Div-I season under their belts.
        In the event they again start slow this coming year, Coach Braica and Co. will have quite a few other options to provide a Terrier long range game.

        In addition to the returning long range game that Glenn Sanabria unexpectedly provided at key moments throughout the past year, there are four exceptional outside shooters joining the roster next year: Icelander Dagur Kar Jonsson, Keon Williams, Jon Doss and Marlon Alcindor. (No, no relation to Lew Alcindor, AKA Kareem Abdul Jabbar!) The Terriers are looking forward to that shooter contingent to free up a bit more space for the returning inside guys: Chris Hooper, Amdy Fall and former Juco All-American Tony Jenifer.

        Count on Coach Braica and staff to continue to emphasize continuing solid team defense to go along with a more varied offensive attack. To overlook the returning regular season champs might be a bit of a mistake.

        Reply
  5. James

    A juco transfer who in his freshman season average 6.3ppg and 1.8 assist sounds okay but when you lose the person who ran the show for you as a freshman and averaged 9ppg and 3.8 apg we can say he may be missed just a little. NEC fan I do agree Frink has the makeup to be avery good Big man in the NEC I think LIU will have a strong front court where they lack to me is in their backcourt. Now with Elvar leaving I am curious to see if the other LIU icelandic player comes back, Im sure they were close friends and it was a shock to even see the PG leave but we have seen these things happen before.

    The league is looking to be open next season, now I don’t see how it was open last year the Pre Season number 1 won the conference by 3 games ( could of been 4 had not some players rested the last reg game) Then the Tournament winner ended up being RMU who was tabbed 3rd but would of been second if everyone would of known Vinales was not going to play a game…RMU ended up being the only team to own a winning record over SFBK so not a big shock they won the tourney. Last year actually went almost as voted by the coaches obviously CCSU dipped very low with injuries and Vinales not playing.

    Reply
  6. Ryan Peters Post author

    Love the debate! Based on the returnees and the head coaches, I have to give Toole and Christian the benefit of the doubt by putting them in my elite tier. All either coach has done in their nine collective years is win come NEC play. Past history can serve as a very good indicator of future performance.

    As far as figuring out the next 6 spots, good luck! When it comes to JUCO and transfers, that’s a very risky business to project. For every Karvel Anderson, Rodney Pryor, Rashad Whack, Dyami Starks and Jonathan Williams, there’s a Vaughn Morgan, Chris Martin, Jay Harris, Charles Oliver and Chris Carter too. Because of the lack of predictability, I’m always purposedly cautious when projecting their future output.

    As fans of our respective programs, it’s very easy to assume Transfer A will be amazing and seemlessly integrate into the rotation. But there’s usually a reason why the player 1) didn’t stick with his first team or 2) wasn’t good enough to be recruited as a high school senior. Some of them work out and others don’t and we won’t truly know until November.

    Reply
    1. NEC Fan

      Just going back to this reply – on the list of the transfers and JUCOs that didn’t pan out, look at who played where as freshmen.

      Martin barely played in his first two seasons at Marshall – averaged 15 minutes a game in 23 games as a sophomore, averaging 3.1 ppg. Not great by any stretch. But even he averaged 7.4 ppg in his time at Mount.

      Morgan was a JUCO kid – apples and oranges, IMO, when comparing to a 4-year transfer, or even a transfer from a 4-year to a JUCO. Agreed – there’s a reason he didn’t make it out of high school.

      Oliver barely played as a freshman at Rider. Went to a JUCO and was an All-American. But again, barely played at the 4-year he attended.

      Chris Carter also didn’t go to a 4-year college – played JUCO and was what you are saying, hit or miss. He was a bad miss.

      Jay Harris was very good his sophomore year at Valpo – and averaged 10 ppg for Wagner as a junior. But off the court issues were his undoing – wasn’t because he wasn’t good enough on the court, which is the case for the rest of the group IMO.

      So of the group you mention, only Harris was good at a 4-year school prior to his arrival in the NEC. Frink and Saintil both played key roles as freshmen at schools at a higher level (Frink as a sophomore too). I think that’s a much different proposition than the rest of the group (have no idea about off the court stuff, that could be an issue but I think on the court they’ll both be impact guys).

      Reply
      1. Ryan Peters Post author

        NEC Fan,

        Can you just go on the record already and put LIU Brooklyn as your preseason #1?!

        Also, I have to tease you about this …. I believe it was you who called my “Robert Morris Will Be Fine Despite the Non-Conference Losing” post back in December “a fluff piece”. I didn’t want you to forget that 🙂

        Reply

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