Aquan Smart enters transfer portal

Maryland guard Aquan Smart has entered the NCAA’s transfer portal.

Smart, a guard from Evanston, Ill., played sparingly this season and was expected to depart. The 6-foot-3 freshman was originally expected to play a role off the bench as Maryland’s second point guard, but fell out of favor with head coach Mark Turgeon early in the season. He played more than 12 minutes in each of Maryland’s first four games of the season, but played double-figure minutes just twice in the remaining 29 games, including a 21-minute outing against Division II Wingate, and totaled 11 minutes in the final 12 weeks of the season.

Smart shot 30 percent from the floor, 55.6 percent from the free-throw line and 20 percent from 3-point range, totaling 30 points, 20 rebounds, 13 assists and 10 turnovers. He and Marcus Dockery, Maryland’s other freshman guard, weren’t part of Turgeon’s eight-man rotation.

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“It’s just a process. We’re just trying to figure out how to make them better through different avenues,” Turgeon said in December. “[Dockery] had a couple good days of practice, I thought Marcus really practiced well four or five days leading up to LaSalle, shot the heck out of it … We just keep trying to push the right buttons.”

With Smart leaving, Turgeon has one new open scholarship with which to shop the transfer portal, which already has more than 1,000 players in it. He’s already received commitments from Georgetown center Qudus Wahab and Rhode Island guard Fatts Russell.

Smart was originally committed to East Tennessee State, but flipped his commitment to Maryland in February 2020 after a quick courtship by Turgeon. He was rated the No. 413 player and No. 47 combo guard in the country, but Maryland’s liked his athleticism and longterm potential.

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“It was amazing. The best visit I’ve ever been on. The atmosphere from the fans, the crowd was great. Some of the fans were asking me for picture. The crowd, even though Northwestern isn’t one of the best teams in the league, they had amazing energy all game. And the players really treated me like one of their own,” he said when announcing his commitment. “They play really hard. They play together as a team and they like playing with each other, so I liked it. And they play fast.”