Point guard Deivon Smith is transferring to St. John’s from Utah, giving Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino a veteran replacement for Daniss Jenkins next season.

A fifth-year senior, Smith ranked sixth in the country with 7.1 assists per game last season. He averaged 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Utes, compiling five triple-doubles — second most during a single season in NCAA history and the most by any Pac-12 player.

In a St. John’s news release Monday, Pitino said the 6-foot Smith reminds him of Miami Heat guard Terry Rozier, a standout player for Pitino at Louisville.

“Super excited to have Deivon Smith joining the Johnnies,” Pitino said. “Total dog who rebounds, creates, and scores.”

Smith, from Decatur, Georgia, played his freshman season at Mississippi State and then spent two years with Georgia Tech. He shot a career-high 46.7% from the field in 28 games during his only season at Utah.

Two of his triple-doubles came during Utah’s run to the NIT semifinals, and he scored a career-best 28 points against tournament runner-up Indiana State on April 2.

Smith becomes the third notable transfer the Red Storm have landed this offseason, joining 7-foot-1 center Vincent Iwuchukwu from USC and 6-foot-7 forward Aaron Scott from North Texas. They both committed last month.

At point guard, St. John’s also returns sophomore Simeon Wilcher, a touted recruit who began to show marked improvement late last season in his limited role as a freshman. Wilcher averaged 2.8 points and 9.1 minutes in 28 games as Jenkins’ understudy.

Jenkins followed Pitino from Iona to St. John’s for his senior season and propelled the Red Storm to a 20-13 record, including 11-9 in conference play for their most Big East wins in 14 years. They reached the Big East Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2000, losing 95-90 to eventual NCAA champion UConn.

Jenkins led the team in scoring (14.9 points per game), assists (5.4), steals (1.6) and minutes (30.7), earning second-team all-Big East honors.


AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball