Illini freshman Mark Smith leaves program

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2017 Mr. Basketball winner Mark Smith averaged 19.1 minutes and 5.8 points per game in his freshman season at Illinois. 2017 Mr. Basketball winner Mark Smith averaged 19.1 minutes and 5.8 points per game in his freshman season at Illinois.

CHAMPAIGN -- Mark Smith's commitment last spring was seen as a major boost to fan morale and an injection of talent into Illinois' rebuilding effort under first-year head coach Brad Underwood. Now the staff will be without the 2017 Mr. Basketball winner in Year Two of the rebuild.

Smith and his family informed the staff this weekend that he will be transferring from the program, WAND has learned.

His family also informed athletic director Josh Whitman of the decision, and will immediately begin the process of picking a new destination.

The Edwardsville High grad and one-time Decatur resident posted 15 points per game in a four-game stretch this November, but then had just two double-digit outings in the final three months of the season. He finished the year with 5.8 points per game, 1.4 rebounds per game and 1.4 assists per game in an average of just over 19 minutes a night.

Tune in to WAND at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Monday and Friday as the sports staff discusses this news in its bi-weekly Illini segment "Tupper's Take".

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