Illinois-Purdue's just started. If you're like me - self-lacerating Illinoisan who masochistically dwells on the crap hands fate and Bruce Pearl have dealt us - you're wondering about Jamar Smith. Wonder no more.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently caught up with Smith, whom you'll recall was the mildly promising Illini guard who turned his brief career at Illinois into a MADD commercial. Back in February 2007, he slammed his grandparents' Lexus into a tree after consuming the rough equivalent of the Goose Island Brewery. His passenger, teammate Brian Carlwell, sustained a severe concussion. Smith figured him for dead and drove a mile to his apartment, parked, and left Carlwell in the car. Then, last April, he violated his probation when he admitted to police outside a Champaign bar that he had been drinking. Smith was summarily dismissed from the team.

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Now he's scoring 18.5 per game for Southern Indiana, which plays Rockhurst tonight in the NCAA Division II Tournament. There's a noticeable bulge beneath his left sock. It's an alcohol-monitoring bracelet, and it'll come off Wednesday, when the court order expires. "I'm looking forward to wearing shorts in public without everyone staring at my ankle," Smith told the Post-Dispatch.

Good for him, but part of me still questions the terms of the probation that ultimately led to his departure from Champaign. Having grown up in the area, I can say with some authority that any punishment that forbids a man from drinking there comes awfully close to cruel and unusual.

Former Illini Basketball Player Jamar Smith Seeks Brighter Future [St.Louis Post-Dispatch]