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Terps’ Jalen ‘Sticks’ Smith Set to Return for Sophomore Season

April 08, 2019 - 10:43 pm

By Joe Schiller

Jalen “Smith” Sticks will return to Maryland for his sophomore season.

The news was made official on Monday.

Smith, a Baltimore native, averaged 11.7 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game in his freshman season. Playing alongside Bruno Fernando, the duo was one of the best low-post combinations in the Big 10 this season.

According to reports, Smith will not attend the NBA Combine in May. Players who attend the Combine and go undrafted are eligible to return back to school but Smith is focusing his full efforts on the Terps’ 2019-2020 season.

"I am proud of Jalen's decision to remain in school and develop his game while continuing his education," Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon said in an official release from the school. "Jalen did so many great things for our program this season and his potential was on full display in the NCAA Tournament. He has the opportunity to take his game to another level as he works with our strength and coaching staff this offseason. Jalen is a special individual from a great family and we are excited to have him return to College Park."

Fernando is expected to depart for the Draft, leaving Smith to fill the void. Maryland is expected to return a talented roster of Smith, Anthony Cowan, Darryl Morsell, and Eric Ayala. Joining them is a talented recruiting class led by 4-star shooting guard Lester Quiones and six-foot-nine twins Makhi and Makhel Mitchell.

Pundits expect Maryland to crack the preseason Top-25 next season with this group.

Smith slowly came along throughout the season and put together one his best performances to date in the Terps’ 69-67 second-round loss to LSU in the NCAA Tournament.

Smith will have big shoes to fill but make no mistake about it, the talent is there.