Smiling Again

By WEEK Sports

July 13, 2010 Updated Jul 13, 2010 at 2:27 PM CDT

Richwoods grad and former Illinois guard Jamar Smith is smiling again.
Smith was recently named the Great Lakes Valley Conference's Player of the week, leading the University of Southern Indiana to two wins that earned them the right to host the conference tournament.
It's a feel–good chapter in the sometimes troubled biography of Jamar Smith.

In the words of McCartney and Lennon, it's getting better all the time for Jamar Smith.
His long and winding road is a comeback trail. Two years removed from the DUI car wreck that eventually led to his dismissal at Illinois, Smith is back on top of his game,scoring 28 points and 18 points in back–to–back wins.

"He's the best player in the league, he's the best player I've ever coached," said USI coach Rick Herdes. "He can score off the dribble, he can shoot the ball as well as anybody. Shooting 56 percent from three. But he's a terrific passer and defensive player. He has been on the best guard the last 10–12 games of the year."

"First, I have to give honor to God," Smith said. "It if weren't for Him I would be playing that well right now. Especially a great opportunity at this University to be able to put myself back on the map. But I think I've got back into the swing of things, with the help of Coach pushing me. My teammates pushing me real hard and making it easy for me to get my shots off."

So life goes on for Jamar Smith, thanks in no small part his return to the basketball floor.

"The basketball court is kinda like my peace haven. Everything that’s gone on in my past and everything that’s going on to this day still seem to not even exist when I’m on the court. Even in practice when I’m out here by myself, before practice or in the game."

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