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Dennis Smith Jr.
6’3” 195 LBS PG
32 G | 34.8 MPG | 18.1 PPG | 45.5 FG% | 35.9 3FG% | 55 3FG | 71.5 FT% | 4.6 RPG | 6.2 APG | 1.9 SPG
• A native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, Smith Jr. ended up spending his lone collegiate season at the Tobacco Road institution closest to his hometown. Despite North Carolina State’s collective struggles, the powerful, multi-faceted point guard shined. No player in the ACC was responsible for more points produced per game (19.4) than Smith, and he finished the season eighth on the league’s individual scoring chart (18.1 ppg). In respect to his efforts as a facilitator, the 19-year old paced the conference in total assists (197), assists per game (6.2), and assist percentage (34.2). He beat out fellow freshmen Jayson Tatum (Duke) and Jonathan Isaac (Florida State) for ACC Rookie of the Year honors.
• In the context of NC State basketball, it would have been impressive enough had Smith simply manufactured one triple-double on the season. Prior to his 27-point, 11-rebound, 11-assist showing in the Wolfpack’s dominant January 4th victory over then-surging Virginia Tech, only one other player in team history had ever reached double digits in each of those three statistical categories.
Less than a month later, Smith turned in his second and final triple-double, notching 13 points, 11 boards, and 15 dimes against Syracuse. Never before in the rich, 63-year history of the ACC had anyone generated triple doubles in two conference games in the same season.
• Dangerous in isolation? Yes, producing 1.02 points per possession. A threat in transition? Certainly, doing even better, scoring at a rate of 1.18 points per possession. Smith put these skills on full display January 23rd at Cameron Indoor Stadium, where he delivered perhaps his finest showing in 32 outings. The 2015 Gatorade North Carolina Player of the Year went off for a career-best 32 points (one of his four 30-point showings), fueling the Wolfpack’s first road victory over Duke since 1995.
Did You Know?:
As mentioned in the final bullet point in the section above, Smith was tabbed North Carolina’s top scholastic player in 2015. Of note, however, was that he received the recognition following his junior season. Due to an ACL injury, Smith was forced to sit out his final campaign at Trinity Christian School, and unable to make another run at the award. In an ESPN.com article published last December, Smith called the injury “one of the best things that happened to me before college,” saying the experience allowed him to obtain more of a well-rounded perspective on the sport by observing from the bench.
Quote of Note:
“It meant a lot for me (to play at NC State). I’ve been a State fan my entire life, as well as my family, so it was definitely a dream come true to play in the red and white. I have the utmost respect for everybody I was there with. I’m thankful for the opportunity.” – Smith, ESPN [via gopack.com] (3/28/2017)
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