Jamar Smith is a 6'3" shooting guard from Richwoods High School in Peoria, IL who will be a freshman this year at the University of Illinois. Like most freshmen, college is a major adjustment but it has not been a big one for Smith. "I took two classes this summer just like all the other players, I did pretty good. There isn't much difference from high school to college to me so far," said Smith who plans on majoring in computer graphics.
On the court, usually the most difficult thing for freshmen to adjust to is the physical part of the game, but that's not the case for Smith. "I'm holding my own right now. I would have to say the toughest part for me right now is how much these guys like to run and push the basketball up the court. I mean after every miss or make, the ball is up the court," said Smith. Pushing the basketball is what most high school players love about head Coach Bruce Weber's system.
Smith felt that all the kids have been playing very well, but two players that have caught his eye have been sophomore's Brian Randle and Shaun Pruitt. "Shaun has been playing great this summer and he's playing with a lot of confidence." In a recent interview with freshman point guard Chester Frazier he felt his game was peaking, and Smith agreed. "Oh yeah Chester is going to be fine, he's really good." The other player that Smith felt was looking good was incoming freshman Charles Jackson. "Charles has lost a lot of weight just like the coaches asked him to do and he looks very good because of it," he added.
According to Smith, senior point guard Dee Brown should be out of a cast in two weeks and James Augustine has been playing with the team. Right now, all the players are home but Calvin Brock and Brian Randle who will accompany Weber with the Big Ten tour team. Most guys will be back on campus August 20th to get ready for school.