JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 15, 2019) – East Tennessee State University men’s basketball head coach Steve Forbes and his staff announced on Friday that Paul Smith (Upper Marlboro, Md.) has signed his national letter of intent to play for the Buccaneers starting in 2020-21. Chick-fil-A Johnson City is the title sponsor of our signing releases during the 2019-20 season.
Smith is a 6-foot-8 power forward out of DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland. The Upper Marlboro, Md. native has played on the varsity level since his freshman year. DeMatha is one of the top basketball programs in the country as the Stags have won six national championships, including producing a number of All-Americans – most recently being Victor Oladipo and Markelle Fultz.
“I’m elated that Paul is joining our program,” said Forbes. “Paul is a fabulous young man who believes in the same core values that our program stands for. DeMatha is one of the most storied and successful high school programs in the country. Paul has wealth of talent and a burning desire to be succeed on and off the court.”
Smith, who was born in Chattanooga and moved to the D.C. area when he was 10 years old, is excited to join the Buccaneer family.
“I chose ETSU because I knew I would be pushed on and off the court each and every day,” said Smith, who has helped lead DeMatha to 90 wins over the last three seasons and needs 33 wins this year to become the all-time winningest player in program history. “I loved the atmosphere when I arrived in Johnson City on my visit – I felt at home. I built a relationship with Coach Forbes and Coach Savage that goes beyond basketball. They showed that they cared about me and were always honest with me about everything. After visiting ETSU, I knew I had found my home for the next four years.”
Last season, Smith helped guide DeMatha to an overall record of 33-5 and were ranked #19 in the country by USA Today in the final Super 25 High School rankings. The Stags are ranked #10 in the country in this season’s USA Today Preseason Super 25 High School rankings.
“Paul plays in the most competitive high school league in the country, the Washington Catholic Association Conference. His team is one of the deepest and most talented in the nation,” said Forbes. “He has to compete every day he steps on the floor in practice and every night his team steps on the court against a national schedule. Paul will be battled-tested when he steps in the door of the Gordon Ball practice facility next June.”
Head coach Mike Jones has coached Smith the last four years at DeMatha and knows the Buccaneers are getting a proven winner with a strong work ethic.
“We at DeMatha are so excited to see Paul continue his development with Coach Forbes at East Tennessee State,” said Jones. “Paul has worked so hard for the past four years. He is bringing passion for the game and an unwavering work ethic to the Bucs. He is a winner, with his best basketball still ahead of him.”
Smith played AAU for Team Takeover and Team Durant – both of which are Nike EYBL teams.