Aggie Hoops Land Guard

The Texas A&M basketball has the daunting task of reloading at the guard position during the spring signing period when talent pool is greatly thinned. However, it appears the Aggies landed their man on Monday when 3-star combo guard announced his commitment.

It's no secret that part of Texas A&M's struggles this past season was attributed to limited guard play and the inability to create scoring opportunities off the dribble. After the abrupt departure of freshman point guard Jamal Branch in December, the Aggies were down to one scholarship point guard and one proven veteran off-guard for the brutal Big 12 schedule. So it comes as no surprise that Billy Kennedy and his staff are loading up on capable guards in the 2012 class. But, Monday's commitment from a long-term Missouri pledge did come as a surprise.

After previous commitments to Central Florida and Missouri over the past 14 months, three-star Florida native Shawn Smith decided that Texas A&M was where he wants to play his collegiate career. The 6-foot-3, 186-pound combo guard made his decision public on Monday.

"I committed to Texas A&M. I built a strong relationship with Coach Cyp (asst coach Glenn Cyprien) and my mom liked Coach Kennedy who is family-oriented," Smith said. "They told me they need somebody to be aggressive on the offensive end with the ability to score. That's exactly what I do. It's a perfect fit."

Smith also made a commitment without even seeing the campus. He plans to take his official visit to College Station in the next couple of weeks, but he said the opportunity to step in immediately and contribute as a freshman along with his mother's strong feelings toward Coach Kennedy compelled him to make a verbal pledge sight unseen.

"The opportunity to fill a big need and contribute immediately was big for me. I also like that I'll be playing in the SEC," Smith said. "But my mom also had a lot to do with it. She was inspired by Coach Kennedy's story and his approach to life and overcoming his obstacles. She knows he'll be a great role model for me."

Smith had been committed to Missouri for several months prior to the fall signing period, but after some complications in getting all of his transcripts from three different high schools sent to Missouri prior to signing, both parties mutually agreed to delay his signing until the spring. During that time, Smith opened up his recruitment and teams such as Florida State, Oregon, South Carolina, and Texas A&M among others continued pursuing the consensus Top 10 prospect in the state of Florida.

"After I didn't sign with Missouri in November, we both went our separate ways," Smith said. "Coach Cyp started recruiting me and everything started falling into place. It's a good fit for me. I like that I'm staying in the south."

Even though he hasn't visited the Texas A&M campus yet and that he's still hearing regularly from several programs, Smith indicated that he's solid in his verbal commitment to the Aggies.

"This ends the process for me. I'm happy with my decision and my mom is also satisfied with my choice," Smith said. "I'm going to be an Aggie."

He has played against future teammate J'Mychal Reese in national elite camps and he is excited to play next to one of the top point guards in the nation.

"J-Mike is a great point guard. Our games will complement each other," Smith said. "I can't wait to get down there and start working out with him and the other guys. I think we can get things turned back around quickly."

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