Deivon Smith could be headed for Georgia Tech out of transfer portal

Mississippi State guard Deivon Smith (5) goes up for a shot after getting past Memphis guard Boogie Ellis (left, rear) and D.J. Jeffries (0) in the second half of NIT championship game Sunday, March 28, 2021, in Frisco, Texas. Memphis won 77-65. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

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Mississippi State guard Deivon Smith (5) goes up for a shot after getting past Memphis guard Boogie Ellis (left, rear) and D.J. Jeffries (0) in the second half of NIT championship game Sunday, March 28, 2021, in Frisco, Texas. Memphis won 77-65. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

It appears the transfer portal could deliver a high-profile homegrown product to Georgia Tech. There is a strong chance that point guard Deivon Smith, who was a four-star prospect out of Grayson High, will commit to Tech after going into the transfer portal after his freshman season at Mississippi State, according to his AAU coach.

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“If I’ve got $1, I’m betting it on the Yellow Jackets,” Demond Stephens, who was Smith’s coach with the Atlanta Celtics AAU team and is close to Smith, told the AJC on Monday.

Smith announced that he had put his name in the transfer database March 31, three days after the Bulldogs played in the NIT championship game, where they lost to Memphis.

Securing Smith would be a significant win for coach Josh Pastner in the wake of leading the Yellow Jackets to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010 and having two of his players named the ACC’s player of the year (Moses Wright) and defensive player of the year (Jose Alvarado). Smith is a highly talented point guard who already has played one college season and, as long as the NCAA approves legislation granting all athletes to have one transfer without having to sit out, will have four season to play, starting next season. Smith played in all of the Bulldogs’ 33 games this past season, starting eight. He averaged 5.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 22.5 minutes per game.

“If I’m Josh, I can’t ask for anything else,” said Stephens, now with Team Dickerson, an AAU team he founded and directs.

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Grayson Rams' Deivon Smith reacts to a three-pointer against Norcross in their Class 7A quarterfinal game Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, at Grayson High School in Loganville. (Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton

Grayson Rams' Deivon Smith reacts to a three-pointer against Norcross in their Class 7A quarterfinal game Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, at Grayson High School in Loganville. (Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton

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Grayson Rams' Deivon Smith reacts to a three-pointer against Norcross in their Class 7A quarterfinal game Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, at Grayson High School in Loganville. (Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Smith, 6-foot-1 and 165 pounds, has ties to Tech already. Tech coaches made a strong bid for Smith coming out of Grayson but came up short. As a member of the 2020 recruiting class, Smith was ranked the No. 63 prospect in the class and No. 5 in the state of Georgia (247Sports Composite).

Stephens said that there was nothing wrong with Mississippi State for Smith, but that he was looking for a better fit and a team playing a faster tempo.

Stephens said that Smith is “super fast with the ball. I love what he’s done with his basketball IQ part of the game. It has gone up so much.”

Smith also is friends with Yellow Jackets players Jordan Usher and Kyle Sturdivant, both of whom made college decisions similar to the one that Smith appears poised to make. While Tech recruited both, Usher (from Wheeler High) and Sturdivant (Norcross High) elected to leave the state out of high school – both went to USC – before deciding to transfer back home.

“I think it fits (for Smith),” Stephens said.

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