Gamecock commit Smith transferring to NC prep

USC 2010 commitment Eric Smith believes in the old adage, "To be the best, you have to beat the best" — and you can add to that, " with and against the best." So Smith is transferring from Mullins High and will begin classes today at Christ School in North Carolina. He does so with the intent of taking his game to another level in preparation for facing the best the SEC can offer next year.

Is Christ School quickly becoming the new pipeline for South Carolina?

2010 Gamecock commit Eric Smith is transferring from Mullins High School to Christ School and starts school there today. Former Christ School star Malik Cooke transferred from the University of Nevada to South Carolina this past week. And with the Gamecocks' prize recruit of the 2009 class, Lakeem Jackson having just graduated from Christ School, a strong case can be made for the pipeline.

"Good players go to that school," Smith's father, Steve, said. "Coaches like Coach (Darrin) Horn look at the good schools with the good players. "What I've heard, they've won three straight state championships."

When GamecockAnthem spoke to the future Gamecock guard, he put a lot of emphasis on the move being a tool to help him prepare for the next level at South Carolina and the competition he will face in the SEC. He and his family believe that the move to Christ School will be a stepping stone to make the transition easier.

While the move was in the works, Smith attended Mullins for the first week of school, but will start at Christ School today. "I'm just trying to get into the flow of things because I'm already a week behind," Smith said. "(The experience will) give me a great advantage going into USC, and I'm looking forward to it."

"I'm looking forward to everything - being at a new school, meeting new people, traveling. Being that I'm away from home with a bunch of new people, it kind of puts you out of your comfort zone. But it's something that I want to do because it'll help me prepare for college."

Smith's father outlined the many things that factored into this major move for his son. "Understand, it's a major league thing, him moving," Steve said of the decision. "But it's something that needs to be done, because the talent level is so much greater than what he can do here."

Both Smiths are products of Mullins High in South Carolina, so they understand the move is a tough one for not only the family, but the community. "It's a situation where Eric will have a chance to go up against top teams and top recruits in the nation. He'll see that on almost a nightly basis. And it can only help him," the elder Smith said.

"He'll be able to work out more. It'll only help him prepare for the next level — you know, South Carolina and Darrin Horn. They knocked on the door of the NCAAs last year, and hopefully they can get in this year and continue that when he gets there." Working out is a big thing for the Smiths. "He won't have to wait until November like we do here," the elder Smith said. "He can work out immediately there."

Smith was adamant that he wants the community to understand and help the three-star lead guard, who scored over 1,500 points in three years at Mullins, get through the transition with encouragement. "Nothing against where he was born and raised," Steve Smith said. "He loves his coach, but he wants to play with the tougher competition."

Both Smiths say that this move allows Eric to put himself into a position to play against top players to better prepare him both athletically and academically. "They have a top-notch schedule and they have good academics," the elder Smith said. "Getting away from home will help him prepare for college." According to Steve Smith, his son averaged 20.1 points, 7.6 assists and 2 steals a game last year, and he has a 3.98 GPA.

Commenting on the growing connections between South Carolina and Christ School, Steve Smith says it just happened that way, with his son going to the same school that Jackson just departed. "Eric knew Lakeem from way back. It's kind of coincidental that they ended up at South Carolina."

With Jackson and Cooke already in school and Smith on his way, it appears to be a happy coincidence for the Gamecocks. With the talent that Christ School sends on to the top college programs each year, it could only mean good things for South Carolina if the trend continues.

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