Transfers James, Smith ruled immediately eligible by NCAA


Michigan State forward Alisia Smith/Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Ian Drummond, Volleyball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING — No. 25 Michigan State got a boost Tuesday as two transfer players awaiting approval to play were deemed immediately eligible by the NCAA. 

MSU posted the news that forwards Jayla James and Alisia Smith are able to play on Twitter in advance of the Spartans’ Tuesday game against Oakland, activating both off the bench.

This isn’t the first time James and Smith have been teammates. Last season, both played for conference foe Penn State. Redshirt sophomore James was a top-rated recruit from Maryland listed as a reserve guard for the Lady Lions, while Lansing native Smith started 20 games at forward as a junior. Smith tied for the team lead in rebounds last season with 5.3 per game, adding 6.4 points per game on offense.

The move adds instant depth for the Spartans. Smith slots in as the second forward behind Taiyier Parks, while James gives the team a player with tantalizing potential to compete for the minutes of redshirt senior Mardrekia Cook when she departs.

Ian Drummond is a volleyball beat reporter for WDBM Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @idrumma.