Checking in at #3 in our top returning SEC Guards countdown is yet another lockdown defender who offers a versatile toolkit on the offensive end of the court. Smith led the Tigers last season with 12.7 points per game and 3.3 assists. His 4.2 rebounds also ranked among the team-leaders. Defensively, Smith led the SEC with a stunning 2.1 steals per contest. Here’s a throwback to one of his best early performances of the year:
An early-season double-double at #21 Xavier (22 points, 10 rebounds) put Smith at least on the SEC’s radar, if not the national one. He punctuated that performance with an 8-8 effort from the free throw line, which became a theme throughout the year. He shot 90% from the charity stripe throughout the year, locking up close victories for Missouri all season long. During Missouri’s SEC slate, Smith put up some very impressive efforts, starting with a 22-point, 6-assist, 5-steal statline versus Florida. Just ten days later, Missouri welcomed Texas A&M to town, and Smith was all over the court, going 11-11 from the free throw line, notching 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. His season-high in points was 28, and that came against #11 Auburn, Missouri’s highest-ranked opponent in the year. For a Missouri squad that struggled to escape the basement of the SEC standings, seeing their point guard step up in the biggest situations has got to be a sight for sore eyes.
If Smith can continue to a do-it-all swiss army knife and lead Missouri to a few big wins, he should be in the conversation for being one of the most impactful players in the SEC.