Patriots Pick Up Juco Scorer

The George Mason Patriots, fresh off their first Final Four, received a commitment from a high-scoring guard out of an Arizona junior college.

Andre Smith, a 6-foot-0 combo guard out of Cochise College, is headed to George Mason. Smith, who averaged 25 points per game and was his region's player of the year, selected the Patriots over Creighton and Mississippi State.

The Houston native indicated that while the Patriots run to the Final Four was amazing, it wasn't the sole reason for the commitment.

"That didn't make me commit but it was everything they did before that point," Smith said. "I knew they were a great team. We watched tape on them. It was great to see a school recruiting you make it to the Final Four but it wasn't the reason why I made my decision to go there.

"The coaches and the players (were great). During their run, every chance they could, they would call me. Players would get on the phone and talk to me. Even after they just beat North Carolina they'd call and say they were thinking of me. Coach Larranaga is a great coach and a great person. I like the way he handles his players and I like the way their players act. You see a guy take a charge and 4 guys run down to pick him up. Here at Cochise we're a family oriented program and that's what George Mason offers."

Smith will have three seasons of eligibility remaining once he arrives in Fairfax next season.

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