Few Greater Peoria basketball players have had the impact on the high school, college and international scene as has Mark Smith, the former Richwoods High School all-stater who scored 1,279 points during his prep years.
Recruited by former University of Illinois coach Lou Henson, the 6-foot-6 Smith was a four year starter and became one of the Big Ten's most productive performers, excelling both in offense and defense.
He was named the Illini's most valuable player and top defensive player in 1979. Offensively, he scored 1,653 points in his college career to rank fourth on the all-time Illinois list at the time of his induction.
He was named to the second Big Ten team in 1979 by both the AP and UPI, rated honorable mention byAP in 1978 and again in 1980 and 1981 by both wire services.
He was selected to the all-tourney team of the Glacier Bowl Classic in 1978, the Illini Classic in 1979 and 1980 and the Rainbow Classic in 1979. He was MVP of the Illini Classic in 1980.
Smith led Illinois in scoring and assists in 1979, steals in 1978 and 1979, field goal percentage in 1980 and free throw percentage in 1981.
At the time of his induction he was still one of the leaders in career rebounds with 723 and in career assists with 350. During his four year career, Illinois went 75-46 overall and 34-28 in the Big Ten. He appeared in the NCAA tournament in his senior year and the National Invitational tournament in his junior season. He played in 121 games, starting 97.
Drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks, Smith did not play in the NBA but headed for foreign courts where he played for Belgium; Uruguay; Naples, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; and Rimini, Italy. His Barcelona team won the European championships.
He also played one season with Puerto Rico in the Continental Basketball Association and played in a summer league with a team sponsored by the Indiana Pacers.