Former Alabama high school basketball star and rising UAB freshman Jamari Smith drowned in a lake on Wednesday, according to's Carol Robinson

Smith, 18, was located underwater in a Lee County lake around 5 p.m. on Wednesday. He was then rushed to the emergency room at East Alabama Medical Center before being pronounced dead at 6:05 p.m.

Smith led Lee-Montgomery to the Alabama state championship in February, earning an All-Tournament selection in the process. He honored two former Lee players (Rod Scott and Shaquille Johnson) before the 2020 state championship, each of whom had died in recent years. Scott died in a car accident in 2016, while Johnson was shot and killed in 2018. 

“Rod and Shaquille – they were the two most outstanding people in the world,” Smith said. “They had such big hearts. They were caring. They were always going the extra mile to do the right thing. They were truly walk by faith and not sight guys.”

Smith was slated to play his freshman season at UAB in 2020-21. UAB head coach Bill Clark issued a statement on Thursday. 

"Our hearts are broken to learn about the tragic passing of Jamari Smith," Clark said. "We want to send our deepest condolences to the entire Smith family. Jamari was an upstanding young man with an extremely bright future. Although he never played a game at UAB, he will always be a Blazer."