Ramar makes it official

Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl announced today that Ramar Smith has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Tennessee beginning with the 2006-07 season. Smith joins Wayne Chism, Duke Crews, Marques Johnson and Josh Tabb to form one of the best recruiting classes in Tennessee history.

"First of all, associate head coach Tony Jones did a tremendous job in recruiting Ramar," said Pearl, who led Tennessee to a 22-8 record and won the SEC Eastern Division championship in his first season in Knoxville. "We wouldn't be able to attract a player of Ramar Smith's caliber without having the kind of success that we did. Also, to see the development of players like C.J. Watson, who was arguably the best point guard at the Portsmouth Invitational last weekend, and the success he has had has put us in position to get players of this quality."

A four-year starter for Martin Luther King High School in Detroit, Mich., Smith averaged 23.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game as a senior. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound guard led King HS to three consecutive Class A regionals.

"Ramar is a breakdown type of player," Pearl said. "He can be a defensive stopper with his athleticism. He knows how to make plays."

The addition of Smith strengthens a Tennessee recruiting class that had been ranked among the top 10 in the nation following the early signing period. Chism, a 6-foot-9 forward from Bolivar, Tenn., is a four-star prospect who is rated the No. 42 overall player in the country. Crews is a 6-7 forward from Hampton, Va., who is rated the No. 14 player in the nation and is considered a five-star prospect. Ranked among the top-50 players by several scouting services, Johnson is a 6-5 guard from Fort Wayne, Ind. A four-star prospect, Tabb is a 6-4 guard from Harmony Christian Prep in Cincinnati.

RANKINGS: Ranked as a top 50 player in the nation by PrepStars.com ... Rated as the No. 36 player in the nation and the No. 5 shooting guard by Scout.com ... Also rated a four-star prospect by Scout.com.

STATS: Averaged 23.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game as a senior ... A four-year starter ... Led King HS to three consecutive Class A regionals ... A first team All-Detroit selection by the Detroit Free Press ... Selected to the Class A All-State team as a senior ... Named the top wing player at the 2003 Hoop Jamboree.

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