When Adam Smith decided to play his final season as a graduate transfer at Georgia Tech, he was inundated with phone calls and text messages from family and friends in the Atlanta area. In a way, it validated his decision to leave Virginia Tech and play closer to his Jonesboro home.
“I wanted to get back closer to home,” Smith said Friday.
In late April, Smith chose Tech over Georgia Southern and Georgia State. He figures to provide a desperately needed lift with his perimeter shooting. Last season, Smith led the Hokies with 13.4 points per game and made 42.4 percent of his 3-point attempts (81-for-191). It would have ranked 16th in the country had he made two more 3-pointers to qualify him for the national rankings (which require 2.5 makes for every game played).
Last season, the Yellow Jackets made 26.7 of their 3-point tries, which was 343rd out of 345 Division I teams. For a team that was 0-11 in ACC games decided by five points or fewer or in overtime, that sort of accuracy likely will be important. Smith is well aware of the help he can provide to an offense that could go cold for long stretches, such as when the Hokies finished their Feb. 9 game over the Jackets on a 17-5 run to win 65-63.
Tech, which was 12-19 overall and 3-15 in the ACC, wasn’t much better inside the arc. Guards Chris Bolden, Tadric Jackson, Josh Heath, Travis Jorgenson and Josh Heath shot a combined 37.6 percent on 2-point attempts. Smith made 45.3 percent of his 2-point tries.
“I knew what they needed,” Smith said. “That kind of fueled my interest. I wanted to go somewhere where they not only wanted me, but they kind of needed me. Me and Coach (Brian) Gregory, we had an understanding that I can shoot the ball and that’s something they can use, they need, so it makes sense.”
Smith acknowledged his decision came as a surprise to many, given that he led the Hokies in scoring and took the most shots on the team. He said he left with no hard feelings on either side at Virginia Tech, the school he chose to transfer to after his standout freshman season at UNC-Wilmington. He said he reached the decision to leave a few weeks after Virginia Tech’s season ended at the ACC tournament.
“It was a tough decision, because in some ways, it’s always a risk any kind of change you make,” Smith said. “You just don’t know. There are so many unknowns about it. I had been at Virginia Tech for three years, made some good friends, met some really good people and enjoyed myself. That school taught me to grow. It was a tough decision, it was a tough one, but I weighed the pros and cons and took my time with it, definitely prayed on it and I feel I made a very good decision.”
Smith said his intention is to begin classes at Georgia Tech June 22, when the second summer session begins. He will graduate from Virginia Tech this Friday with a degree in communications. Smith’s hope is to be accepted into the digital media program, which he said was another driver in the decision to transfer. He said he is in the middle of the application process.
“You can’t beat a master’s degree in digital media at Georgia Tech,” Smith said. “It’s just tough.”
He will join a senior class of home-grown players, including forwards Marcus Georges-Hunt (North Clayton High), Charles Mitchell (Wheeler) and Nick Jacobs (Southside).
“I didn’t know this opportunity would come along until it did,” Smith said. “I just put my name out there. I was kind of hoping I would get something closer to home. Georgia Tech came along and it turned out to be a perfect opportunity.”