Forward Galen Smith III announced Sunday on his Twitter page that he has committed to Western Kentucky.
"It was really just the coaches," Smith told WBKO about his decision. "I felt like I had nothing but an opportunity for next year to come in and play. The facility was great. The education, they have my sports management program and I can graduate in less than four years. It all went together and felt like home for me."
Smith is a 6-foot-9, 220-pound senior who played at Bay High School in Bay St. Louis, Miss. last year. He visited Bowling Green over the weekend and reportedly holds scholarship offers from WKU, California State Northridge, Southern Mississippi, Jackson State and Jacksonville State.
As a junior at BHS, Smith averaged 13.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. He announced in April he would be moving to Meridian, Miss., to play his final season, but found out this summer he would be ineligible.
Smith considered Oak Hill Academy (Va.) or Findlay Prep (Nev.), but family ties in Hawaii led him to make the move to Honolulu to attend Kahuku High and Intermediate School.
"It was a culture shock," he laughed.
Recruited originally by former WKU assistant Shammond Williams, Smith reconnected with Western through new assistant Marc Hsu in July. His visit to Bowling Green over the weekend included watching the Hilltoppers scrimmage Saturday and having breakfast with WKU coach Rick Stansbury on Sunday.
"(Stansbury's) good people, really good people," Smith said. "I heard a lot of good things about him and I know he coached at Mississippi State and they had a lot of success over there. I know he's gonna push me so I know that's the best part."
Smith, who said he's not sure yet when he'll sign his letter of intent, becomes the third member of Western Kentucky's 2018 recruiting class. Forward Matthew Horton of Shelton State Community College and guard Jeremiah Gambrell (Houston, Texas) have also pledged to be Hilltoppers and forward Cameron Fini (San Jose, Calif.) plans to join the program as a walk-on.
— Follow WBKO sportswriter Chad Bishop on Twitter @MrChadBishop
6'7 c/o '17 Galen Smith Jr. perfecting his craft . A stretch 4 that can flat out shoot pic.twitter.com/yubEbgTnRd— Team Elite Heat AAU (@EliteHeat_AAU) August 14, 2016
our 6'8 c/o '18 Galen Smith III (Bay High) getting some reps up pic.twitter.com/6HcyIb5Y9I— Team Elite Heat AAU (@EliteHeat_AAU) August 14, 2016