Iowa releases Tyler Smith

The transition of basketball standout Tyler Smith from an Iowa Hawkeye into a Tennessee Vol is picking up steam. Iowa officials have released the 6-7, 220-pound Pulaski product from his scholarship.

The release enables Tyler Smith to be closer to his father, Billy, who is battling cancer and now residing in McMinnville.

As noted in this space earlier this week, Tyler Smith's next stop appears to be Tennessee. The former Giles County High School star grew up a Vol fan and signed with the program in November of 2004. When Bruce Pearl replaced Buzz Peterson as head coach in March of 2005, however, Tyler balked. He spent a year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, then signed with Iowa, where he was third-team All-Big Ten as a freshman.

Now that his father is sick and the man who signed him (Steve Alford) has left Iowa to take the reins at New Mexico, Tyler Smith is looking to return to his home state. Iowa's decision to release him was the first step in that process.

"Tennessee is where I want to go. I've always liked Tennessee," Tyler Smith told The Tennessean. "They're the only school I'm looking at right now, and it's close to home. It makes the most sense for me and my dad. I hope it works out this time."

Smith must sit out the 2007-08 season as a transfer unless the NCAA grants him a hardship ruling due to "extenuating family circumstances." Given Billy Smith's illness, there is a good chance Tyler will get such a waiver.

Pearl cannot comment on unsigned recruits. However, the Vol coach reportedly will seek input from his returning players before accepting Smith as a transfer.

Smith averaged 14.9 points for Iowa last fall, ranking second on the team in that category and also in assists (111). He led the team in rebounds (153) and steals (45) en route to first-team Big Ten All-Freshman recognition.

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