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.
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]