The NCAA has ruled that Josh Smith, transferring from UCLA to Georgetown, will be eligible to play in the Hoyas first game of the season on November 8th. And not only will Smith be eligible for this season, but he was also granted a full season of eligibility in the year after.
See, Smith played in six games last season at UCLA as a junior. And there was some speculation that he wouldn’t be ruled eligible until the second semester, if at all this season. However, to the surprise of most, he won’t have to wait. Annnnnddddd somehow finagled a fifth year.
Smith is lucky that the NCAA ruling party is erratic and very inconsistent.
There have been players that have played in scrimmages, transferred, had to sit out [another] full season, and had that year in which they partook in a scrimmage count as a year of eligibility. Smith, however, played in six regular season games, left because he was fed up with the program at UCLA, didn’t have to sacrifice anything, and even got that partial season back.
The NCAA’s baffling story is going to be the main focus associated with the Smith ruling, but that’s done with. Maybe we’ll get some comments from the NCAA explaining their decision compared to others in the past, that’s it. People will be angry and confused, but that’s the NCAA’s reputation.
Part of the focus needs to turn to what Georgetown is getting in Smith.
Smith was a McDonalds’ All-American, played in the Jordan Brand Classic game and was ESPN’s 20th ranked prospect in the class of 2010. He’s a house of a human being, standing 6-foot-10 350 pounds (per Georgetown’s website) and has always dealt with weight issues. However, it wasn’t just his size that people based his potential on. He is extremely talented around the basket and fairly nimble on his feet.
Unfortunately his conditioning continued to worsen during his time at UCLA to the point where he could barely get up and down the court. If John Thompson III can kick him into shape, he could be the most significant difference maker in the Big East this season. He has an immense amount of potential, but work needs to be done for it to be unlocked. Word had it when he first arrived at Georgetown, he could only play for approximately two minutes total. But now it’s rumored that he’s able to log about 10 minutes of play. If he can somehow get close to 20, the Hoyas will have a much better chance at repeating as Big East champions.