Michigan basketball's Mike Smith passes on extra year in college, declares for NBA draft

Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press
·2 min read
Mike Smith celebrates as Michigan took the lead at halftime against Maryland at the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis, Friday, March 12, 2021.
Mike Smith celebrates as Michigan took the lead at halftime against Maryland at the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis, Friday, March 12, 2021.

Michigan basketball's seniors can all return for another season after the NCAA granted a free year of eligibility to all winter sport athletes.

But at least one player will be moving on.

Point guard Mike Smith announced Wednesday afternoon that he is declaring for the NBA draft in a post on Instagram.

"All my life I dreamed of playing in the NBA, but I have always been the underdog," Smith wrote. "I have always been told I was too small or that I wasn't good enough to play at the next level. I never listened to them and I still don't.

"No matter what anybody said, I kept working and betting on myself. I believe that we all have our own paths in life. So ... it's only right to continue to bet on myself and take that path and follow my dreams of playing in the NBA. Next stop for me is the NBA draft!"

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Smith started all 28 games this past season as an integral member of a Wolverine squad that won the Big Ten title, earned a No. 1 seed and reached the Elite Eight. He averaged 9.0 points, 5.3 assists and shot 41.8% from 3-point range. Smith was the primary ball-handler and leading passer for Michigan, and his ability to operate out of ball screens was a key reason U-M finished with the ninth-best offense, according to KenPom.com. Smith transferred to Michigan last offseason after spending his first four years at Columbia.

He was one of five seniors on this past season's team, along with Austin Davis, Eli Brooks, Isaiah Livers and Chaundee Brown.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan basketball Mike Smith announces he's entering 2021 NBA draft