Tarleton State has added a highly-touted junior college prospect to its backcourt, as head coach Lonn Reisman confirmed the addition of Demerius "Melo" Smith late Monday night.
Smith, a 6-foot, 2-inch shooting guard from Alexandria, La., was a 47.7 percent 3-point shooter at Kennedy King College in Chicago last spring. He averaged 17.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists while also knocking 78 percent from the charity stripe. He finished the year with 96 triples and originally committed to Division I Chicago State.
"Melo is a dual-threat guard with the ball. Obviously he has shown the ability to shoot well behind the arc, but he also brings the ability to create his own shot, drive to the basket and get to the free throw line," said Reisman. "Melo has all the tools we were looking for in a shooting guard, and he has high expectations for this team and himself in the upcoming season."
Smith, who was 50th in scoring in NJCAA Division I last season and was ranked No. 16 among juco sophomores by BluMil Sports Scouting, says Tarleton fit what he was looking for once plans fell through at Chicago State.
"I was looking for one of the top programs in the country, one that could help me achieve my goals both athletically and academically," said Smith. "Tarleton recruited me all year long, and they were persistent in their approach that they could help me accomplish what I desired most - a great education and a chance to compete for a championship."
Smith averaged 13.1 points and 4.2 assists at Bossier Parish Community College (La.) in 2008-09 before sitting out the 2009-10 season. He exploded back onto the hoops scene last year, knocking down 8-of-9 from outside the arc on his way to racking up 35 points against nationally-ranked Kankakee Community College. He later had 27 against Kankakee in the NJCAA Region Four tournament and also had 28 and nine boards in a regular season bout against Malcolm X College.
Smith earned first-team All-NJCAA Region Four honors and also made the regional all-tournament team.
Now, the 3-point specialist looks forward to continuing his career with the Texans.
"Tarleton's track record speaks for itself, and I'm excited about playing in the Lone Star Conference against great competition," Smith said. "Add to that the fact I get to come back closer to home and it was an opportunity I couldn't afford to pass up."
Smith joins a Tarleton backcourt that is looking to replace all-region point guard Corin Henry. Shedrick Haynes, a Division I transfer from South Florida, is expected to take over at the point, while Smith will compete for the starting job at shooting guard.
The Texans have guards Darrion Washington, Coleman Furst and Chris Harrell returning from last season's 24-6 Lone Star Conference South Division championship team that led the nation in scoring defense.