There is no debating the impactful career start for sophomore Malachi Smith. The transfer from Wright State took the 2020 portion of the schedule by storm earning the Southern Conference’s December Player of the Month honors.
Smith averaged a double-double for the second month in a row at 16.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per contest. It was the first such month of double-double dominance since Z. Mason posted 19.0 points and 12.3 rebounds per game in three contests. Mason averaged 18.8 points and 10.3 boards over the final 25 games of that senior campaign.
Smith’s month included a career-high 29 points while collecting 13 rebounds in the win at Tennessee State. He scored 15 points and grabbed five boards in final 9:45 comeback from 13 down to complete the first undefeated non-conference slate.
He earned SoCon Player of the Week on Dec. 22 for his play leading the wins over UNC Asheville and at UAB. Both wins came in the final minute. Malachi made the game-clinching steal and FTs in final seconds of 3-point win over the Bulldogs, while his 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assist spear-headed the road win at UAB becoming the first school in the nation to 8-0.
Smith had six double-doubles out of eight December outings rising to the national lead with nine total in his 11 games to date. His 121 total rebounds also are the country’s best to date with eight or more in all 11 starts.
He is the first Moc since Tre McLean in December 2016 to win the award and fifth overall joining Ty Patterson (Dec. 2009), Mason (Jan. 2014) and Casey Jones (Jan. 2015 & Feb. 2015). Chattanooga returns to action Wednesday night in the Roundhouse hosting Samford at 7 p.m. The airs on ESPN+ as well as WFLI 97.7 FM/1070 AM in Chattanooga along with nationally on the TuneIn app.