Tuesday, August 14, 2018
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Serrel Smith asks for his release from Mississippi

St. Petersburg's Serrel Smith said Tuesday he would ask for his release from Mississippi.

Smith made the decision on Saturday, a day after his high school season and career ended with a loss to Pompano Beach Blanche Ely in the Class 8A state semifinals.

He waited until Tuesday to officially announce his intention on his Twitter account.

"I would like to thank Ole Miss for the opportunity, but now that my high school season is over and coach AK (Andy Kennedy) has stepped down, I have asked for my release and will be opening up my recruitment," Smith said in his Twitter statement.

The decision comes three months after Smith signed with the Rebels during the early period.

In February, Kennedy said he was stepping down at the end of the season. Smith had said he would wait to see who the Rebels hire as a replacement before deciding whether to stick with the program. Middle Tennessee State coach Kermit Davis has emerged as the leading candidate.

"I'm looking for a program who is granting me the same opportunity (Kennedy) was, and that's to play through my mistakes and learn and grow off them. And letting guards have their free will," Smith said.

This season, Smith averaged nearly 30 points per game and led the Green Devils to the state semifinals for the third time in the past three seasons. He scored 42 points and national powerhouse Oak Hill (Va.) and 36 in the state semifinals against Blanche Ely.

Smith will have no shortage of suitors once his release is granted. St. Petersburg coach Chris Blackwell said Clemson, Dayton, Illinois, Maryland and South Carolina all inquired about Smith on Tuesday. Smith also is expected to get heavy interest from Florida, USF and Wichita State, among others.

"This is something Serrel had to do at this time," Blackwell said of asking for the release. "It was in his best interest and what's best for his future."

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