Donta Smith Working in the Classroom

After leading Southeastern Illinois to a fourth place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament, University of Louisville signee Donta Smith is now focused and working hard to earn the associates degree he'll need to be eligible next fall for the Cardinals.

Donta Smith had an incredible sophomore season at Southeastern Illinois.

Not only did the 6-foot-7 University of Louisville signee lead his team to a 33-5 record and a fourth place finish in the NJCAA National Tournament but also earned distinction as the top junior college player in the nation and made the NJCAA All-Tournament team after averaging 26 points and 12 rebounds per game as a sophomore. In the process, Smith also established the career scoring record at the Harrisburg, Illinois school.

Now, Smith is hard at work in the classroom trying to earn the associates degree he'll need to become eligible at U of L next fall.

"He's got some work to do in the classroom to graduate," Southeastern Illinois head coach Todd Franklin said. "So he's still working toward graduation."

Asked if he expected Smith to complete the necessary requirements to receive an associates degree to play at the University of Louisville, Franklin said, "All I will say is that all of our guys have graduated in the past. So I won't speculate any more than that."

Provided Smith takes care of business in the classroom this spring and earns his degree, a feat that every player under Franklin's guidance has achieved, he's likely to have a big impact next season for the Cardinals. His ability to score combined with his athleticism should make him a valuable presence on the press and on the boards for U of L head coach Rick Pitino.

"Donta is the number one junior college player in the country," Pitino said. "He reminds me a lot of Ron Artest. He really can defend well. He's a tough, hard-nosed player who is very quick and knows how to pass. He's just a tremendous athlete."

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