The University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball program announced today that Coppin State’s Sterling Smith (Chico, Calif./Redemption Christian Academy-Troy, N.Y.) has signed a financial aid agreement and will transfer to Pitt for the 2015-16 season.
Smith, who completed his junior year at Coppin State will be immediately eligible to compete for Pitt because he will graduate this spring. He joins center Rozelle Nix (Cincinnati, Ohio/Pensacola State J.C./Withrow H.S.) and guard Damon Wilson, Jr. (Powder Springs, Ga./Our Savior New American H.S.)—as new players on the 2015-16 roster.
“We are extremely excited about adding Sterling for the 2015-16 season,” Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said. “Over his three years at Coppin State, he has proven to be a strong shooter and effective scorer. His size and length will also help us defensively at both guard positions. He also has excelled academically as he graduated in three years.”
Smith is a 6-foot-4-inch, 185-pound guard who averaged 13.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game while earning Second Team All-MEAC honors as a junior. A 3-point marksman, Smith also converted 76-182 (41 percent) of his 3-point attempts in 2014-15. Over his three-year, 93-game career, Smith scored 934 points (10.0 ppg.), grabbed 408 rebounds (4.4 rpg.), dished out 129 assists and accumulated 111 steals. He also hit 159 of 408 3-point attempts (39 percent) in 73 career starts. Smith, who played his first two seasons for legendary Coppin State head coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell, signed with Pitt over Louisville, Rutgers and Wake Forest.
Pitt returns four starters including All-ACC honorees Jamel Artis and Michael Young, nine total letterwinners, 85 percent of its scoring, 74 percent of its rebounding and 86 percent of its assists from the 2014-15 team. Pitt is one of only nine programs nationally to earn at least 12 NCAA Tournament appearances in the last 14 seasons (Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Texas, Pitt, Louisville and Arizona).
PITT’S 2014-15 MEN’S BASKETBALL SIGNEES
Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
Rozelle Nix Center 7-0 318 Cincinnati, Ohio/Pensacola State J.C./Withrow
Sterling Smith Guard 6-4 185 Chico, Calif./Coppin State
Damon Wilson Guard 6-5 200 Powder Springs, Ga./Our Savior New American H.S.
Guard, 6-4, 185, Senior, Chico, Calif./Coppin State/Redemption Christian Academy (Troy, N.Y.)
CAREER: In 93 games and 73 starts, averaged 10.0 points (934) and 4.4 rebounds (408) per game, converted 159 of 408 3-pointers (.390) and 129 of 171 (.754) free throws and registered ….Totaled 41 double figure scoring games and nine 20-point games.
2014-15: Named to the All-MEAC second team and College Sports Madness Third Team…Named MEAC Defensive Player of the Week on Dec. 29…Preseason honors included being named to the College Sports Madness All-MEAC fourth team…Averaged a team-best 13.9 points in 31 games and ranked second on the team in rebounding (4.9)…Ranked third in the MEAC in 3-pointers made per game (2.5), 3-point field goal percentage (41.8), seventh in steals (1.4), 12th in scoring and field goal percentage (44.8) and 19th in rebounding…Led Coppin State with 76 3-pointers and ranked second on the squad with 44 steals…Reached double figure scoring 23 times and scored 20 or more points seven times…Had an eight–game stretch in which he went for 20 or more points five times…Scored a career-high 28 points against Norfolk State and had 27 points against Savannah State…Made at least four 3-pointers in a game 10 times…Had two double-doubles: Eastern Michigan (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Delaware State (27 points, 10 rebounds).
2013-14: Played in all 32 games and made 28 starts…Finished the season as Coppin State’s third-leading scorer (10.9 points per game) and third-leading rebounder (4.2)…Averaged 29.7 minutes…Led team with 60 3-pointers…Ranked among MEAC statistics leaders in several statistics: fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (38.5), 12th in 3-pointers made per game (1.9) and 13th in steals (1.7 per game)…Scored in double figures 18 times and scored 20 or more points four times…Finished with a career-high 24 points and nine rebounds in an 81-78 overtime loss to Hampton on Feb. 1…Led team with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting in 78-73 win over Oregon State (Nov. 10)…Scored 20 points against Ohio Valley College (Nov. 25) and Florida A&M (Feb. 15)…Made at least one 3-pointer in 29 games…He made at least three 3-pointers in a single game eight times…Made a career-best six 3-pointers against Florida A&M…Averaged 11 points per game during the Eagles three-game run in the MEAC Tournament…Scored 14 points in the MEAC quarterfinal win over Hampton (March 12)…Led Coppin State in scoring four times: California (16 points, Nov. 8), Oregon State, Hampton and Florida A&M…Led Coppin State in steals with 39…Made three or more steals five times…Finished the season with 50 assists, which ranked third on the team…He handed out a career-best eight assists against Howard on (March 3)…Grabbed at least four rebounds 18 times…Collected a career-best nine rebounds against Hampton (Feb. 1) and Delaware State (Feb. 3) in consecutive games.
2012-13: Played in 30 of the 32 games with 18 starts during his freshman season…Started 15 of the first 17 games of the season…Averaged 5.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game…Played 712 minutes and averaged 23.7 minutes per game…Ranked second on the team while shooting 42.3 (60-142) percent from the floor…Shot 32.9 (23-70) percent from the 3-point line and 70.6 (12-17) percent from the free throw line…Had 28 assists, 28 steals and three blocked shots…Registered four double-figure scoring games with three double-figure rebounding games…Finished with two double-doubles…Turned in a career game at UMBC (Feb. 12) with a career-highs of 13 points (5-7 FG) and 12 rebounds against the Retrievers…Scored 11 points (5-6 FG) and posted four steals against Saint Joseph’s (Dec. 4)…Scored 10 points (4-7 FG/2-3 3FG) and grabbed 10 rebounds against South Carolina State (Jan. 14)…Had 10 points and three rebounds at Maryland Eastern Shore (Feb. 18)…Scored six points, grabbed a rebound and handed out two assists vs. Bethune-Cookman in the MEAC Tournament.
HIGH SCHOOL: Attended Redemption Christian Academy in Troy, N.Y.…Averaged 21.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists last season…Also attended Chico High School in Chico, Calif.…Earned three letters in basketball at Chico…Scored 48 points in a game during his senior season at Chico…Averaged 23.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game as a senior.
PERSONAL: Born on August 14, 1993, in Sacramento, Calif.…Son of Anthony and Renee Smith…Major is criminal justice…Expected to graduate in May, 2015 from Coppin State University.
SMITH’S COLLEGIATE CAREER-HIGHS
Points…………… 24, Hampton (2-1-14)
FG Made……….. 8, at Oregon St. (11-10-13)
FG Att…………… 16, at Norfolk St. (1-20-14)
3Pt. FG Made… 6, at Florida A&M (2-15-14)
3Pt. FG Att……. 10, Norfolk St. (2-22-14)
FT Made……….. 9, Hampton (2-1-14)
FT Att…………… 9, Hampton (2-1-14)
Rebounds……… 9 (2x) last: Delaware St. (2-3-14)
Assists…………… 8, Howard (3-3-14)
Steals……………. 3 (5x) last: at Morgan St. (2-19-14)
Blocks…………… 3, vs. Hampton (3-12-14)
Minutes………… 42, Hampton (2-1-14)