Renewed confidence, skill set boost Smithpeters’ game

Renewed confidence, skill set boost Smithpeters’ game

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

At 6 feet 4 inches tall and 179 pounds, SIU men’s basketball junior guard Tyler Smithpeters is not the largest man on the court.

But this year, his newfound confidence and expanded game have him playing much bigger than he is. 

“I said it before, and I’ll keep saying it, Tyler will be a key contributor this year,” Hinson said before the game against Oakland on Tuesday.


So far in the season he has averaged 8.1 points per game, nearly double his mark from last year: 4.3.

Smithpeters has also improved his three-point shooting. He is shooting 52 percent from behind the arc this year, up from his 36.8 percentage last year.

After the end of last season, Smithpeters said he took a week off to shake the mental effects of the season and get his mind right.

“I just came in a lot this summer and [strength and conditioning coach Clete McLeod] pushed me in the weight room,” he said. “[Assistant coach Brad] Autry also helped me a lot to become more than a shooter.”

After working with Autry, Smithpeters has improved from 0.6 assists per game last year to 2.3 this season.

Hinson said Smithpeters’ improvements are not only physical. 

“Tyler no longer hangs his head around at practice anymore,” he said. “He now stands tall and you can tell he believes in himself more.”


Smithpeters said his experience in coach Hinson’s system is important on a team with eight new players. He said Hinson has helped him become a vocal leader. 

Smithpeters’ teammates have also noticed his growth.

“You can tell in practice that Tyler is better,” senior guard Anthony Beane said. “He really worked hard this summer to be more than a shooter which will help a lot.”

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @SCarleyDE