Austin Peay continue their transformation during this signing period, signing “lockdown defender” Damarius Smith.
Smith, who played last year at Vincennes Junior College this past season after beginning his career at Lipscomb, wasn’t an offensive force, averaging just 3.3 points per game. But Austin Peay head coach Dave Loos says Smith is joining to help shore up the Governors much maligned defense.
“We have talked about changing the identity of this team, especially on the defensive end,” Loos said. “D.D. is a guy who we felt like we had to have. He brings a lot of toughness to the floor. He was the best perimeter defender I saw all year as we went through the recruiting process. He is absolutely a lockdown defender. He guards the other team’s best perimeter player every time out, whether it is a one, two or three.
“He is terrific defender in his own right,” Loos added, “but it is also his leadership on the defensive end, his communicating to the other players about screens and that he is there to help—just talking on the defensive end—that we also really like. He is just a guy who really gets it on the defensive and will lock you up.”
Damarius, known as “D.D.”watched his brother, Amius, play on defense for Austin Peay’s football team from 2008-11.
Smith was a solid assist man for Vincennes, averaging over 3.8 per game. As a redshirt freshman at Lipscomb in 2011-12, he averaged 5.2 ppg while starting 19 of 29 contests. He shot 45 percent from the floor while averaging 3.4 apg.
“D.D. is a totally unselfish guy the way he plays basketball,” Loos said. “He sees the floor, finds the open man and really distributes the ball. He is a guy who thinks pass first and shot second, although I think he has the ability score more than he was called upon. He averaged more than 20 points per game at Kenwood and also proved he could score when he was at Lipscomb.”
Smith averaged 20 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals per game as a senior for John Stigall at Kenwood High School.
Smith will have two years of eligibility.