Jamar Smith

Jamar Smith
No. 15 – UNICS
Position Shooting guard
League VTB United League
Personal information
Born (1987-04-07) April 7, 1987 (age 34)
Peoria, Illinois
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Listed weight 240 lb (109 kg)
Career information
High school Richwoods (Peoria, Illinois)
NBA draft 2010 / Undrafted
Playing career 2010–present
Career history
2010–2011 Maine Red Claws
2011 Guaiqueríes de Margarita
2011–2012 Prostějov
2012–2013 Hapoel Gilboa Galil
2013–2014 Brose Baskets
2014–2015 Limoges CSP
2015–2017 Unicaja
2017–present UNICS
Career highlights and awards

Jamar Smith (born April 7, 1987) is an American professional basketball player for UNICS Kazan of the VTB United League. Standing at 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m), he plays the shooting guard position. He played collegiate basketball at Illinois and then at Southern Indiana.

Early life

On January 8, 2004, Smith, a three-star recruit out of Peoria (Illinois) Richwoods High School committed to the University of Illinois basketball program under then-Head Coach Bruce Weber.

Collegiate career


Smith began playing for Illinois in the 2005-2006 season. Illinois had just played in the NCAA National Championship game the previous March, and then lost junior guard Deron Williams to the NBA, so the natural shooter Smith seemed to be in a perfect position to step into a vacuum and become a team leader. Even though he was a bench player as a freshman, Smith still managed to be the fifth-highest Illinois scorer that year, appearing in 32 of 33 games; he led the Big Ten Conference in three-point shooting percentage (48.2%), and was a Big Ten All-Freshmen team selection.[1]

The 2006-2007 sophomore season for Smith began with trouble, as he suffered a high ankle sprain in the season opener against Austin Peay when an opposing player stepped on his ankle. Smith missed the next six games,[2] and also injured the other ankle compensating for the sprained ankle; Smith was never at full strength that season. On February 10, 2007, the Fighting Illini lost to basketball arch-rival Indiana University by a score of 61-65 in a game played at Bloomington, Indiana.[3] It would be the last game Jamar Smith ever played in an Illinois jersey. (See DUI Arrest)

Southern Indiana

On December 30, 2008, after a nearly two-year absence from college basketball, Smith stepped onto the court as a member of the University of Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles. Rusty skills, nerves and embarrassment over having to play while wearing an ankle monitor led to a slow start in his first game for USI, but Smith was soon back to his old form, leading his team to a #2 national ranking in Division II, and was given Honorable Mention Division II All-American, and finished the season averaging 18.5 points per game. As a senior in 2010 Smith was named the Basketball Times Division II Player of the Year, with a career-high 21.6 points per game average.[citation needed]

Collegiate statistics

Smith played first two seasons in Division I, and the last two in Division II.[4][5]

2005–06 Illinois 32 0 19.2 .470 .482 .704 1.7 1.3 .5 .0 8.0
2006–07 Illinois 21 6 22.5 .333 .317 .788 1.6 1.9 .9 .1 8.1
2008–09 Southern Indiana 21 15 33.1 .472 .476 .764 2.5 2.5 1.7 .2 18.5
2009–10 Southern Indiana 26 26 32.3 .465 .427 .792 4.1 3.7 1.2 .4 21.6
Career 100 47 26.2 .447 .431 .765 2.5 2.3 .8 .2 13.8

Professional career

Following his college career, Jamar Smith played in the 2010 NBA Summer League for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He went unselected in the NBA draft. On September 27, 2010, Smith was signed to a one-year unguaranteed minimum salary contract with the Boston Celtics, but was waived four days later. On October 30, the Celtics assigned him to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, where he was named to the D-League's All Rookie Second Team. Despite playing virtually all season with a foot injury, he averaged 13.5 points per game, including a double-double (20 points and 10 rebounds) and finished 4th in the league in 3-point shots made.[6]

in April 2011 he was signed to play in Venezuela for Guaiqueries de Margerita, but was released about a week later. In August 2011 he was given a one-year contract by BK Prostejov in the Czech Republic, where he averaged 14.9 points per game.

Smith signed with the Boston Celtics on July 31, 2012[7] and played for the Celtics in the 2012 NBA Summer League.[8] He appeared in four preseason games, averaging 2.3 points and 1.0 rebound per game. He was waived on October 16, 2012.[9] On October 26, 2012, he signed a one-year deal with Hapoel Gilboa Galil of Israel.[10]

In June 2013, Smith signed a two-year deal with Brose Baskets of Germany.[11] He left them after one season.[12]

On August 4, 2014, he signed a two-year deal with the French team Limoges CSP.[13] With Limoges he won the 2014–15 LNB Pro A championship. On June 25, 2015, he parted ways with Limoges.[14]

On June 26, 2015, Smith signed a two-year contract with the Spanish club Unicaja.[15] In April 2017, Smith won the EuroCup with Unicaja after beating Valencia Basket in the Finals.[16]

On July 17, 2017, Smith signed with Russian club UNICS for the 2017–18 season.[17] On June 9, 2018, Smith won the VTB United League Sixth Man of the Year award.[18] He averaged 15.4 points and 3.6 assists per game in the 2019-20 season. On July 8, 2020, Smith re-signed with the team.[19]

Career statistics

  GP Games played  MPG  Minutes per game  FG%  Field goal percentage
 3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game
 PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high     Led the league
2010–11 Maine Red Claws NBA G-League 48 33.8 .461 .432 .872 2.3 4.3 1.0 .2 11.9
2013–14 Brose Bamberg EuroLeague 10 21.2 .445 .481 .833 1.5 1.8 .5 .0 12.5
2014–15 Limoges CSP EuroLeague 10 26.1 .515 .458 .818 2.6 3.1 1.2 .1 14.0
2015–16 Unicaja EuroLeague 15 21.1 .328 .393 .875 1.3 2.4 .8 .0 7.8
2016–17 Unicaja EuroCup 21 20.8 .436 .430 .783 1.7 2.2 .5 .1 10.3
2017–18 BC UNICS Kazan VTB United League 29 29.2 .512 .481 .950 2.1 2.4 1.2 .2 14.4
2017–18 BC UNICS Kazan EuroCup 19 31.2 .454 .394 1.00 1.8 2.9 1.2 .1 13.1
2018–19 BC UNICS Kazan VTB United League 31 25.4 .515 .451 .972 2.6 3.2 1.0 .1 13.2
2019–20 BC UNICS Kazan EuroCup 15 27.8 .524 .528 .778 2.0 3.7 1.1 .3 15.2
Career All Leagues 198 27.7 .475 .449 .893 2.1 3.1 .9 .1 12.5

Disciplinary and legal issues

DUI Arrest

On the night of February 12, 2007, Central Illinois experienced one of the biggest blizzards it had received in the previous ten years, dumping 15" of snow in the Champaign area, and making travel dangerous.[20] At approximately 9 PM that night, Smith and Illini teammate Brian Carlwell, both age 19 at the time, began drinking at one of the apartments in the complex where they lived in the small town of Savoy, Illinois, about 10 minutes south of the Assembly Hall (now called State Farm Center), the University of Illinois basketball arena. Smith says he was engaged in a drinking game they called "Power Hour"—drinking a shot of tequila every 60 seconds, a dozen shots in total. According to witnesses, Smith and Carlwell left the apartment at approximately 11 PM after "things got really rowdy and out of control" and got into a 1996 Lexus belonging to Smith's grandfather; the two intoxicated players drove off into the blizzard toward the university campus on the snow-packed roads.[21]

Shortly thereafter, Smith returned to the apartment, visibly shaken, and incoherent. About one mile from the apartment, Smith had lost control of the car in the snow, spun 180 degrees, and the passenger door of the car smashed into a tree on the opposite side of the road. He had driven the car back to the apartment complex and Brian Carlwell was still outside in the passenger side of the car—Smith said that Carlwell was dead. Witnesses said the Smith was so distraught over the thought of killing his friend that he broke a window and tried to harm himself and was restrained.

Witnesses outside the apartment saw the damaged car with a person inside who was not moving, and called 911. When authorities arrived, it turned out that Carlwell was not dead, but unconscious—he had suffered a severe concussion and was admitted to a local hospital where he was kept in an induced coma for four days after the accident. Amateur photos of the wrecked car Smith was driving were posted contemporaneously by the administrator of a major Illinois basketball discussion forum.[22]

Carlwell, a 6'10" freshman reserve center for the Illini, rejoined the team a week later, but did not play in any of the final eight games of the season. He only played in three games for Illinois the following season, and in February 2008, one year after the accident, Carlwell announced that he was transferring to San Diego State University,[23] where he played his final two college seasons.

Jamar Smith was charged by the Champaign County Sheriff with Aggravated DUI (because of Carlwell's severe injuries) and Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Personal Injury; both charges are felonies in Illinois. Smith's blood alcohol content that night was .176, more than twice the .08 legal limit. Three months after the accident Smith entered a plea of guilty to DUI with grievous bodily harm, and the leaving the scene charge was dropped as part of a plea agreement. Partly because Smith had no prior criminal record of any kind, he received a relatively light sentence—15 days in jail, an $850 fine, two years probation, and 75 hours community service. He was also ordered not to consume alcohol as a condition of his probation. After the guilty plea, the Illinois basketball program suspended Smith for one year, and permitted him to redshirt during that time, so as not to lose a year of NCAA eligibility during his suspension.

Probation Violation

Smith completed the university suspension in May 2008, and the NCAA basketball pundits were speculating about the effect that the return of Smith to the team would have for Illinois, since the team had struggled to find a consistent shooter. However Jamar Smith was still under the two year probation restrictions imposed by the court, when on July 25 of that year, police were called to the scene of a 2:30 AM altercation outside a campus-area bar. Smith was not involved in any way in the altercation, but police said they ordered Smith, and others who were at the scene, to stay back away from the altercation to avoid inflaming the incident. Police said that Smith walked away three times, but each time returned to the scene. Police then approached Smith, said he smelled like alcohol and asked him about it, and Smith admitted he had a few beers. As a well-known local athlete, the police knew who Smith was, and they also knew that his DUI sentence prohibited him from consuming alcohol. He was not arrested at that time but a few days later, the Champaign County States Attorney, Julia Reitz, asked a judge to revoke Smith's probation.[24]

As a result of the probation violation, Smith was given a six-month suspended jail sentence, his probation period was extended an additional 18 months, he was ordered to enter an alcohol rehabilitation program, and to wear an alcohol monitoring anklet 24 hours a day until his probation was completed.

The University of Illinois announced that Smith was permanently dismissed from the basketball program.[21] Smith arranged with court officials to move to Evansville, Indiana where he completed the ordered rehab, worked in a grocery store, and entered the University of Southern Indiana.


Jamar Smith is forthcoming about his alcoholism, the serious errors in judgment he made, and how he was given a second, and a third, chance to get his life together. From some reports, Smith, with the help of friends and family, has turned his life around. He has said that at some point he would like to travel and speak to young people about his experiences. Smith is still in contact with many people from his time at Illinois, including former head coach Bruce Weber, his best friend from the Illinois team, Chester Frazier, and Brian Carlwell, the player who was riding with 19-year-old Smith in the car on the night that changed the direction of his life.[25]


  1. ^ "Jamar Smith UI". FightingIllini.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  2. ^ "Jamar Smith Injures Ankle in Season Opening Blowout". IllinoisLoyalty.com. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  3. ^ "Late basket, turnover help Indiana fend off Illinois". ESPN. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  4. ^ "Jamar Smith". fightingillini.com. Archived from the original on 10 February 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  5. ^ "Jamar Smith - 2009-2010 Men's Basketball". gousieagles.com. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  6. ^ "2011 Rookie of the year". NBA.com. Archived from the original on November 25, 2011. Retrieved January 9, 2012.
  7. ^ "Celtics Sign Smith and Christmas". NBA.com. July 31, 2012.
  8. ^ "Jamar Smith NBA Summer League". NBA.com. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  9. ^ "Celtics Waive Christmas and Smith". NBA.com. October 16, 2012.
  10. ^ "Gilboa Galil lands Jamar Smith". Sportando.com. 26 October 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  11. ^ "BROSE BASKETS inks scoring guard Smith". Euroleague.net. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  12. ^ "Bamberg expected to opt out of contracts with Smith and Sanders". Sportando.com. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Limoges signs sweet-shooting Smith". Euroleague.net. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Jamar Smith, Adrien Moerman and JP Batista leave Limoges CSP". Sportando.com. June 25, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  15. ^ "Unicaja adds three-point ace Smith". Euroleague.net. June 26, 2015. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  16. ^ "7DAYS EuroCup Finals, Game 3: Unicaja Malaga is the champion!". Eurocupbasketball.com. 5 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Unics signs 7DAYS EuroCup champ Smith". Eurocupbasketball.com. July 17, 2017. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  18. ^ "League Announces Individual Awards At Gala". vtb-league.com. 9 June 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  19. ^ "UNICS Kazan re-sign Jamar Smith". Sportando. July 8, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  20. ^ "Blizzard of February 12-13, 2007". noaa.gov. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  21. ^ a b "Jamar Smith's new life after Illinois". Fox Sports. Archived from the original on October 21, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  22. ^ "The Brian Carlwell & Jamar Smith Wreck (with pics) - Jamar charged with DUI". illinoisloyalty.com. Illinois Loyalty. February 13, 2007. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  23. ^ "Illinois center Brian Carlwell to transfer". UPI. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  24. ^ "Police allege Smith violated probation". Daily Illini. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  25. ^ "Memory Lane: Jamar Smith". Champaign News-Gazette. Retrieved January 4, 2014.

External links