February 5, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverine forward Evan Smotrycz (23) drives the baseline against Michigan State Spartans center Derrick Nix (25) during the first half at Jack Breslin Students Events Center. MSU won 64-54. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Name: Evan Smotrycz
Weight: 230 lbs
Position: Power Forward
High School: New Hampton Prep, MA
As A Recruit: Four-star by 247Sports.com, 86th ranked player in class of 2012
Career Highlight: As a sophomore at Michigan, Smotrycz’s final game was a NCAA tournament second round matchup against Ohio (the Wolverines lost 65-60). In 24 minutes, Smotrycz scored 15 points (six-of-seven shooting) and grabbed seven rebounds for Michigan.
2012-2013 Season In Review: Obviously, Smotrycz didn’t play last season due to NCAA transfer rules. However, his journey to College park is pretty impressive.
After two years of productive basketball at Michigan, he decided to leave the program, which came as a shock to many people around the game. He was an important role player for the Wolverines and easily their biggest outside threat.
During his time in Ann Arbor, the Massachusetts native averaged 7.0 points-per-game and 3.6 rebounds-per-game. During his sophomore season, Smotrycz was replaced in the starting lineup by senior guard Stu Douglass, but still contributed at a high level. He averaged more than 21 minutes-per-game and shot 43 percent from three-point range. During that season, Michigan was a NCAA tournament team, which proves that Smotrycz has the talent and the mental makeup to contribute to any team.
Smotrycz appeared in every game during his two seasons at Michigan. He even won the school’s Sixth Man Award as a freshman as he averaged 6.3 points-per-game to go along with 2.3 rebounds-per-game. Smotrycz was a top 100 recruit in high school and played his AAU ball for the highly-regarded Mass Rivals squad. In just the last few years, Mass Rivals has seen the likes of Noah Vonleh, Kaleb Joseph, and Goodluck Okonoboh comes through their program.
Despite receiving interest from a host of high-profile schools including Baylor, Kansas State, Providence, and Xavier, Smotrycz fell in love with Maryland on a visit to the campus and the rest is history. He committed to coach Mark Turgeon and his staff in April 2012 and it appears to be a great fit for all parties involved.
2013-2014 Expectations: Smotrycz joins Maryland’s lineup as a redshirt junior and should be able to contribute right away.
With the likes of forwards Alex Len and James Padgett gone, sophomore Shaquille Cleare should be the starting center and Smotrycz will slide right in as a stretch four for the Terps. It’s a position that should suit him well, but will take some adjusting to get used to. With that being said, Turgeon is a wizard when it comes to developing big men. He’s put guys like Len and DeAndre Jordan in the NBA, so Smotrycz is definitely in good hands. While he didn’t play last year while at Maryland, he did practice with the team and should have a solid grasp of the offense.
Smotrycz is going to be leaned on as one of the leaders of the team. After guard Dez Wells, who is going to be Maryland’s second scoring option? It very well could be Smotrycz. In limited minutes while at Michigan, the Massachusetts native showed his ability to score the basketball and be a force on the glass.
He should be able to hold his own in the post just fine as he is an above-average shooter. Those 15 to 20 foot jumpers will be a huge asset when the three-point opportunities aren’t available for the Terps. It may put a stop to some of those ill-advised threes that Maryland likes to attempt at times.
Smotrycz was a 40.8 percent three-point shooter during his time at Michigan. He has the ability to be absolutely lethal from the outside and that certainly is a welcome addition for Maryland after losing guard Logan Aronhalt to graduation. Aronhalt shot a deadly 43.4 percent from beyond the arc in only about 14 minutes-per-game. The Terps don’t have a ton of consistent long-range shooters, aside from sophomore forward Jake Layman and now Smotrycz.
However, shooting isn’t the only strong aspect of his game. The former Wolverine is very aggressive on the glass and will take on anybody for a rebound. He uses his height to sky above opposing players and grab key rebounds.
Smotrycz is also a strong finisher and has the ability to drive to the basket. Some big men don’t have the best feet and can be quite clumsy at the rim. That is not the case with Smotrycz. His quickness sometimes catches defenders off-guard and he can spin away from contact to convert at the rim. He really is a tremendous athlete for his size.
Smotrycz will be expected to score quite a bit for the Terps and could even be the second scoring option behind Wells. He’ll likely be expected to average double-digit points and be an interior presence on the glass.
He should mostly play alongside Cleare, which is good for his defensive game. He won’t be expected to block shots and be the rim-protector that Maryland needs. That’ll likely be Cleare, assuming he’s more prepared than last season.
Smotrycz is going to be a key piece for Maryland and will cause a mismatch for most opposing players that will be guarding him. He’ll be able to stretch the floor, much like teammate Jake Layman. It appears that Turgeon has struck gold once again on the transfer wire.
Up Next: Jake Layman