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Illinois coach says Smith will sit out season following DUI conviction

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois guard Jamar Smith will sit out
next season following a drunken-driving conviction.

Coach Bruce Weber said Wednesday Smith will redshirt and rejoin
the team next fall as a junior if he meets unspecified obligations.

"He's in the process of meeting his legal obligations while
continuing to work on his personal issues," Weber said in a
statement. "We feel at this time it's in Jamar's best interest
that he sit out the 2007-08 season."

Smith, a 6-foot-3 guard from Peoria, pleaded guilty in May to
aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and was sentenced
to 15 days in jail and 24 months of probation.

Authorities say Smith and teammate Brian Carlwell drank tequila
and beer before getting into a crash last February. Smith, who
allegedly believed Carlwell was dead, left the accident scene and
drove the damaged car back to his apartment, authorities said.

The accident left Carlwell hospitalized for four days with a
severe concussion

Smith, then too young to drink legally, had a blood-alcohol
level more than twice the state's legal limit of .08.

Neither Smith nor Carlwell played after the accident.

Smith, 20, averaged 8.1 points in 21 games, starting six. He
was the Illini's top 3-point threat before the accident. He could
not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Weber also said Wednesday that Illinois awaits word on whether
another guard, freshman Quinton Watkins, will be eligible to play
this season. Watkins is home in California trying to clear up his
status, Weber said.