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Reports: Columbia grad transfer guard Mike Smith gets Michigan's attention

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Michigan is reportedly eyeing another Ivy League point guard.

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein and 247Sports’ Evan Daniels, the Wolverines are pursuing Columbia grad transfer Mike Smith.

Columbia's Mike Smith was sixth in the country, averaging 22.8 points per game.

Smith told Daniels he has spoken with Michigan and Arizona in the past couple of days and “those two have prioritized me so far.”

“It seems like he’s building a good culture over there at Michigan for sure,” Smith told Daniels about coach Juwan Howard. “They weren’t ranked and then ended up getting ranked and being in and out of the Top 25. It’s kind of a good and bad, but more of a good thing. It shows the determination and the grit they have as a team and the coaching staff.

“Coming from the Miami Heat and hearing them talk about culture and stuff like that and him being an NBA player, it’s really interesting and what he has shown in that program in a year. With me being around Jimmy Butler all the time, he talks about culture, you can tell it’s bleeding into Michigan in a way with Coach Howard. I haven’t been there or talked to any of the players, but that’s from the outside looking in.”

Smith (5-foot-11, 180 pounds) ranked sixth in the nation in scoring with 22.8 points per game this past season. He averaged 4.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds and shot 33.9% from 3-point range over 30 games to earn All-Ivy League second-team honors.

Smith had his junior year cut short after eight games because of a torn meniscus. Due to Ivy League rules, Smith can’t play a fifth season at Columbia because the conference doesn’t grant redshirts and doesn’t permit graduate students to play athletics. He would be immediately eligible to play next season.

He already has a connection to Michigan. He played with current Wolverine and walk-on forward Jaron Faulds during the 2017-18 season before Faulds transferred.

Smith is the second Ivy League point guard Michigan is reportedly pursuing, along with Harvard grad transfer Bryce Aiken. While it’s unclear what the Wolverines’ point guard plans are, they have two experienced options on the roster in Eli Brooks and David DeJulius.

In addition to Smith and Aiken, the Wolverines also are reportedly a suitor for Harvard grad transfer Seth Towns, a forward.

Michigan’s interest in Smith, Aiken and Towns suggests that roster attrition is coming. As it stands, the Wolverines are one over the scholarship limit with nine returning scholarship players and five incoming recruits.

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @jamesbhawkins