While opening eyes with his athleticism and effort during the first couple of weeks of Arkansas Razorbacks basketball training camp, graduate-transfer Justin Smith was technically still in the 2020 NBA Draft pool after declaring for the draft in late April as a member of the Indiana Hoosiers.
Smith (6-7, 230, forward, senior, native of Buffalo Grove, IL) cemented his status as a Hoop Hog this week by formally withdrawing from the draft, submitting his required paper work to do so just ahead of the NCAA’s mandated deadline of Aug. 3 (Monday) for underclassmen to withdraw in order to return to school, according to a source.
Smith committed to Arkansas on June 8 and weeks later he moved to Fayetteville to begin voluntary strength-and-conditioning and shooting work with his new Hog teammates before the start of team camp on July 20.
Smith started all 32 games as a junior at Indiana in 2019-20 and averaged 10.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.0 steals in 30.4 minutes per game — all career-high marks — while shooting 49.2% from the field (including 10-of-38 from 3 for 26.3%) and 67.3% from the free throw line.
Prior to becoming a Razorback for his final campaign as a collegian in 2020-21, Smith had faced the Hogs three times in the past two seasons while at Indiana. In those matchups — the Hogs’ 71-64 road win last season and a home-and-away split in ’18-19 — Smith registered a combined 9 points (on 3-of-13 field goals and 3-of-6 free throws) and 9 rebounds in 51 minutes for the Hoosiers.
Smith became second-year Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman’s third grad-transfer in the 2020 recruiting class as he joined Vance Jackson, Jr., and Jalen Tate.
After entering the transfer portal in the spring, Smith was pursued by at least 20 schools including Arkansas, Mississippi State, Purdue, Notre Dame, Oregon, Maryland, Arizona State, North Carolina State, Xavier, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Iowa State, Northwestern, Georgetown, DePaul, and Boston College among others before choosing the Hogs.