by Charles Cochrum
HOUSTON, Texas -- Rice University head men's basketball coach Mike Rhoades announced the signing of Amir Smith (Missouri City, Texas/Ridge Point HS) to a National Letter of Intent for 2015-16 on Thursday. The 6-6, 200-pound forward becomes the fourth member of the incoming class.
Rhoades said, "We are very excited to have Amir Smith join our program and our family. He will bring great energy to our program and we think the sky is the limit for Amir. I'm really excited to get to work with him and he's exactly what we want in our program: someone that's excited about being a part of our Rice Basketball family and being a student here at Rice University."
Smith averaged 10.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 32 games for the Panthers this season and led coach Terreance Plowden's team to a 22-11 record, including a 9-5 mark in district play. Ridge Point advanced to the area round of the playoffs. The senior shot 52 percent from the field and 72 percent from the foul line. He earned first team all-District 23-5A and all-Region III honors as well as academic all-district accolades. Smith was named the team's most valuable player and was selected to compete in the Houston Area Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game, scheduled for May 8.
As a junior, Smith shot 53 percent from the field and hauled in 4.8 rebounds per game. He added 4.3 points and nearly a block per game in 2013-14. The Panthers posted an 18-15 record and 9-5 tally in district action while advancing to the area round of the regional playoffs. He earned second team all-district honors and was named the team's defensive player of the year. Smith also won the team's Panther Award for his efforts on the court and in the classroom.
He is the son of Joe Smith, who was the top overall selection in the 1995 NBA Draft.
Amir Smith joins three other signees in the 2015 class, as Connor Cashaw (Lincolnshire, Ill./Stevenson HS), Marcus Evans (Chesapeake, Va./Cape Henry Collegiate) and Marquez Letcher-Ellis (Houston, Texas/Montverde Academy [Fla.]) inked NLIs with the Owls in November's early signing period.