GREENVILLE, S.C. – Furman men’s basketball has added Lee University transfer PJay Smith Jr. to its roster for the 2023-24 season, it was announced on Tuesday by Paladin head coach Bob Richey.
“We are very excited to add PJay to our program,” said Richey. “He brings excellent shot making ability to our offense but also brings high level perimeter defending and the ability to rebound from the guard spot. He’s a proven all-conference player from a well-coached, winning program in Lee University that’s coached by former Furman guard Bubba Smith. With his proven character, ability to impact winning in high school and college, and his high level of talent, he checked every box for us in the evaluation process. We cannot wait to get him here in June.”
Smith, a 6-0, 175-pound guard, started all 28 games for Lee as a sophomore in 2022-23 and averaged 15.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. He also paced the Flames with 47 steals, shot 44.8% from three-point range, and connected on a team-best 83.5% of his free throw attempts to help Lee to a 20-8 overall record and 18-6 mark in Gulf South Conference play.
“PJay is one of the best players and people that I’ve coached in my 15-year career,” said Adam Sonn, Smith’s head coach at Goodpasture High School. “He has incredible instincts on both sides of the ball, loves the game, loves to compete, and loves to work. Everyone is drawn to PJay.”
A product of Goodpasture Christian School and an AAU backcourt partner of new Paladin teammate JP Pegues, Smith garnered 2020-21 GSC Freshman of the Year Honors after averaging 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game during his rookie season. He captured second team All-GSC accolades this past season while helping the Flames reach the NCAA Division II National Tournament. The LaVergne, Tenn., native topped 20 points on six occasions as a sophomore, including a career-best 32-point performance on 5-of-7 shooting behind the arc and 11-for-11 at the foul line in a 101-90 win at Auburn-Montgomery on February 4, 2023.
Furman is set to return seven of its top nine scorers from a 2022-23 squad that posted a school-record 28 wins, claimed the Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles, and stunned No. 4 seed Virginia in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Orlando, Fla.