Ray adds former Clemson player as graduate assistant


Matthew Stevens



STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State men's basketball coach Rick Ray has brought one of his favorite players from his time at Clemson to Starkville.


As soon as he's accepted into graduate school at MSU, Tanner Smith will join the MSU coaching staff as a graduate assistant this fall. As a Clemson senior in 2011-12, Smith was the only player in the Atlantic Coast Conference to average at least 10 points, five rebounds, and four assists per game. He was one of a handful of four-time All-ACC academic selections.


"After playing for 20 years, I have decided to retire from basketball. It hasn't been an easy decision, but God has called me to begin my coaching career," Smith wrote on Facebook this week. "This calling has led me to Mississippi State, where my passion for people and for basketball will meet hand in hand."



The 6-foot-5 wing played two seasons of pro basketball in Europe. In his first year, he played with Landstede Basketball of the Netherlands and claimed Dutch League All-Star honors. In his second year, he played with MHP Risen Lugwigsburg in Germany.


Smith averaged 7.8 points per game in four years at Clemson. He shot 42.9 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from 3-point range. In his final season, he received the 2011 C.J. Spiller Award given to a student-athlete chosen by the Clemson University student body for exceptional representation of the school through athletics and academics.


"We are happy to add former @ClemsonMBB player, Tanner Smith, to our staff as a Graduate Assistant," Rick Ray announced Monday on his Twitter account. "Tanner will do a great job with our team!"


While at MSU, Smith will oversee his non-profit group Tanner's Totes, an organization that helps children and teenagers with cancer through donations.


Smith graduated from Clemson in December 2011 with a degree in marketing. He accumulated graduate school hours at Clemson while playing in final season with the Tigers during the 2011-12 season.





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