Former St. Pete High basketball star Serrel Smith Jr. transferring to USF

Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times
·2 min read

The replenishment of the USF men’s basketball roster continued Friday with its biggest pledge yet.

And a local one, to boot.

Former St. Petersburg High shooting guard Serrel Smith Jr., a four-star recruit who led the Green Devils to three final four appearances, announced Friday via Twitter that he’s returning home to play for the Bulls.

USF, which has lost nine players (eight to the NCAA transfer portal) since the end of the 2020-21 season, will be Smith’s third college program in four seasons.

Smith, who began his college career at Maryland, played last season at East Tennessee State. He started 17 of 25 games, averaging 23.6 minutes, seven points and nearly one steal per contest for a 13-12 club. The previous season at Maryland, he played sparingly (7.7 minutes, 1.5 points per game) for a 24-7 Terrapins team that won the Big Ten title.

A perimeter dynamo with the Green Devils, Smith averaged 29.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists as a senior, scoring 36 points in a loss to eventual Class 8A champion Pompano Beach Ely in the state semifinals. He was named 8A state player by the Florida Dairy Farmers and the Pinellas County Player of the Year (all classifications) by the Tampa Bay Times.

As a junior, he totaled 81 points in a pair of games against national power Oak Hill Academy, which featured two McDonald’s All-Americans.

Endowed with rich basketball bloodlines, Smith’s mother, Tamika Coley, starred at Pinellas Park and went on to play at UCF and coached the Green Devils’ girls basketball program. His cousin, Jerica Coley, led the nation in scoring (29.4 ppg) her senior year at Florida International, and played briefly in the WNBA.

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