After suffering a major loss from the injury of Jontay Porter earlier this week, the Missouri basketball program received some good news to end the week.
The Missouri TIgers’ basketball season begins in 10 days, when Mizzou hosts Central Arkansas. On the outset of the season, the Tigers looked to have a good shot at improving on their performance from last year’s 20-13 record.
Earlier in the week, however, fate dealt the Tigers a blow, when second year player Jontay Porter went down with a torn ACL and MCL, which eliminated his chances of playing for the Tigers this year.
While the news of losing yet another Porter brother at the start of another promising season ripped the heart out of many, there was at least a little good news to end the week: The NCAA declared Illinois transfer Mark Smith eligible to play for the Tigers this year.
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Smith’s ability to play for Mizzou couldn’t have come at a better time – in fact, the talk of curses on Missouri’s athletic programs was becoming more reasonable to believe, until a little good luck came along.
Perhaps Smith’s declared eligibility is the start to a change of luck for the Tiger’s program, despite the gut-wrenching loss of Porter. Smith played one season for the Illini, opting to transfer out of the program.
Similar to the Porter brothers, Smith committed to play for Illinois in hopes of turning Illinois’ basketball program around. Compared to former NBA star Jason Kidd, Smith, a four star recruit and Illinois’ “Mr. Basketball” in 2017, opted to leave after deciding he “did not fit the system.”
Mark Smith wasn’t the only one awaiting an eligibility waiver from the NCAA, however. His brother, Dru Smith is also hoping to obtain eligibility to play this year. There’s no official word on the status of his appeal, despite the circulating rumors of a denial from the NCAA.
In the meantime, the week ended a lot better for Missouri and Tigers fans, than it began. Mark Smith has 10 days to acclimate and prepare for his debut against Central Arkansas.