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      Porter Gaud grad doing big things on court for small school

      JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Smith household is quite cheery these days. Former Porter Gaud star Travis Smith is about to finish his college career at Mercer University in Macon, Ga.

      This is his final Christmas trip home of his college career.

      "Family time, eat a lot of seafood, don't get that in Macon. It's good, it's good to have time around family," he said.

      Smith's journey to this Christmas break has been an interesting one. He went from Porter Gaud to Presbyterian College to a junior college, {}and now he's at Mercer for his final two seasons.

      "It's exciting. A lot of guys are overlooked by big schools. Everyone can't go to a big school. My decision to go to Mercer was easy because it was the best fit possible. Going into an atmosphere of being an underdog is a great feeling and our team thrives on it," said Smith.

      Two days ago, Smith proved that statement.

      His Mercer Bears went to Tuscaloosa, Ala., and knocked off the Alabama Crimson Tide by seven points. Smith led his team with 17 points on five three pointers.

      "You get a chance to play guys that you see on television. You know you can compete with them and you get a chance to show it face to face," he said. {}

      Smith has always honed his skills against the best, but also with the best. His teammate and classmate at Porter Gaud was current Detroit Piston Khris Middleton.

      "We talked about it before, it's surreal when I talk to him or see him that he's in the NBA," said Smith.

      Middleton is doing his thing; Smith is doing his. After the holidays he has one more semester of hoops. He is proven he can beat the best, but now he wants to do it when it counts.

      "Graduating is important to me in the short term. {}I'd also like to help us get to the NCAA tournament. After that I'd like to play pro ball somewhere. Follow in the footsteps of Anthony Johnson, Khris Middleton and Terrell Everett who ended up overseas or playing here at home and representing the Lowcountry," said Smith.

      That is a holiday wish he's on track to accomplish.

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