An early entry candidate for the 2005 NBA Draft.
Career Highlights: Earned Consensus Second Team All-American honors as a junior. Named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament Chicago Regional and earned a spot on the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team. Was a Wooden Award finalist. Named First Team All-Big Ten his junior and senior seasons. Completed collegiate career as the second all-time leader in assists in Illinois history with 594. Also ranks 35th all-time in scoring with 1,111 career points. Became the first player in Big Ten history to lead the conference in assists in each of his first three seasons (conference games only). Was a member of the bronze-medal 2002 USA Basketball Men's Junior World Championship Qualifying Team and the 2003 USA Basketball Men's National Junior Team which won the gold medal at the Global Games in Dallas, Texas.
Junior (2004-05): Led the Big Ten and ranked 11th nationally in assists (6.8 apg). Total of 264 assists set a school single-season record. Recorded three double-doubles. Scored season-high 23 points vs. Longwood. Dished out career-high 12 assists vs. Penn State. Tallied 11 assists in win over Wake Forest. Shot 5-for-9 from beyond the three-point arc on his way to 20 points vs. Gonzaga. Scored 15 points and distributed 10 assists vs. Nevada in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Registered a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double in Illinois' stirring comeback win over Arizona in the Elite Eight. Posted 17 points and seven assists in the championship game loss to North Carolina.
Sophomore (2003-04): Paced team and ranked eighth in the Big Ten in scoring (14.0 ppg). Missed three games due to a double jaw fracture. Broke a school NCAA tournament record with a career-high tying 31 points in a second round win over Cincinnati. Shot 10-for-13 in the game and sank a career-high six three-point field goals. Set career-high of 31 points vs. Wisconsin. Recorded 19 points and 11 assists at Minnesota. Registered 16 points and 10 assists at Purdue.
Freshman (2002-03): Averaged 6.3 points and 4.6 assists as a starter at point guard. Ranked second on the team in steals (46). Scored in double figures seven times, recording a season-high 12 points on three separate occasions. Distributed season-high seven assists in four contests, three times in Big Ten play.
Strengths: Uses size and strength to overpower defenders off the dribble, creating plays for his teammates or himself. Has keen court vision and delivers crisp passes in the halfcourt setting or in transition.
Personal: Majored in sport management. Was a high school teammate of fellow early entry candidate Bracey Wright. Mother, Denise Smith, and aunt, Judy Ward, played basketball and volleyball at West Liberty State. Favorite athletes are current NBA players Jason Kidd and Frank Williams.