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UCF Senior Forward Collin Smith Will Not Play in the 2020-21 Basketball Season

The Knights’ most experienced player is stepping away from the game to focus on his health

Photo: Derek Warden

The UCF Knights will be without their most experienced player for the upcoming 2020-21 men’s college basketball season. Redshirt senior forward Collin Smith said in a statement Tuesday that he is stepping away from the sport to focus on his health.

In his statement, Smith wrote that “as my doctor and I continue to monitor my health, an underlying issue has caused us to make the decision to step aside from the game to properly manage my health.

“COVID-19 has taught us a lot of lessons, and while we are not sure what the future holds for me with basketball, life is about timing, and the time is now to fully take care of myself.”

Smith has played the past two seasons with the Knights, starting 62 of a possible 63 games. He was UCF’s best player last year as he averaged 12.6 points and 6.3 rebounds and finished either first or second on the squad in minutes, field goals, points, rebounds, steals and blocks. He arrived at UCF in 2017 after transferring from George Washington University and is the only member of the current roster who played meaningful minutes during UCF’s NCAA Tournament run in 2019.

“Although I won’t be on the court THIS season,” Smith wrote, “I won’t be too far away as I plan to cheer for the BEST TEAM in the country from the sidelines or wherever I happen to be at that moment.”

Although the Knights don’t have anyone who can match Smith’s breadth of experience, they do have a number of big men who can help fill the void. Avery Diggs, a 6-foot-11 senior, has the size as does the 7-foot-1 Moses Bol, who redshirted last season. Rangy forwards Ibrahim Famouke Doumbia and former five-star recruit C.J. Walker will also have to step up. However, it’s not known if Walker has received clearance to play immediately after transferring in from Oregon this summer. Sean Mobley, a 6-foot-8 junior who is eligible after transferring from VCU and redshirting last year, offers good size as well as the ability to step out and score on the perimeter.

But most of all, everyone is wishing the best for Smith as he takes this time to step away from the game to focus on himself. Never forget to make yourself a priority.