Malachi Smith commit to the Bulldogs

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The top available men’s basketball transfer in the portal, Malachi Smith from Chattanooga, has committed to Gonzaga , he announced on social media Thursday.

“I wanted to play for a Hall of Fame coach in Mark Few, be part of a team that has a family feel, and be a part of a winning culture,” malachi Smith told ESPN.

Malachi Smith commit to the Bulldogs

Since entering the transfer portal in late April, Smith had interest from almost every school in need of a guard, including Louisville, Texas Tech, DePaul and Stanford.

Malachi Smith commit to the Bulldogs

One of the top mid-major players in the country last season, malachi Smith averaged 19.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 40.7% from three-point range. In addition, he tested the NBA draft waters before withdrawing at the NCAA deadline and says he gathered valuable feedback from teams about what he should work on to improve his professional status.

“They want me to show that I can be a versatile defender against NBA talent while also showing my offensive ability as a point guard,” he said. “They want to see that I can compete at this level.”

Malachi Smith commit to the Bulldogs

The Gonzaga team is considered the No. 1 team in the country, along with North Carolina, after several key players return. The team includes Drew Timme, a potential National Player of the Year candidate, and two other starters from last year’s NCAA tournament. Both Rasir Bolton and Julian Strawther scored double digits as fifth-year seniors.

Malachi Smith commit to the Bulldogs

Anton Watson, a senior power forward, and Nolan Hickman, a sophomore point guard, are both returning, joining LSU transfer center Efton Reid.

Even though so many talented players return, Smith says he can’t guarantee he will be the focal point of the offense on a team with national championship aspirations.

Malachi Smith commit to the Bulldogs

“Many winning teams contend for championships have great players,” he said. “Kansas has four or five guys that could have been the man on different teams.” Gonzaga’s Final Four team had four or five NBA players. It’s great to be part of a great team, and everything works out just as it should, as long as we are winning.”

Gonzaga gains Smith’s battle-tested experience and vocal leadership, which it lacks currently.

Malachi Smith commit to the Bulldogs

“I can bring talent, but I also have experience in March Madness,” he said. “I’ve led a team on a tournament run. I’ve used my voice and know where teammates need to be to help things run smoothly.” smoothly. My goal is to be a part of something special, and elevate my game.”

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