Dennis Smith Jr. was born on Nov. 25, 1997. He was a lifelong Wolfpack fan before becoming one of the highest-rated recruits to play at NC State. He enrolled at NC State in January 2016 after averaging 22.2 points as a junior for Trinity. He was named North Carolina’s Gatorade Player of the Year. Smith tore his ACL during his senior year of high school at Trinity Christian School and elected to graduate in December.
Coming out of high school, “Junior” was the No. 4 recruit overall and No. 1 point guard according to ESPN, No. 6 overall recruit in composite ranking by 247Sports, and No. 10 overall by Scout. He averaged 18.1 points and 6.2 assists per game at NC State before declaring for the draft. He was selected by Dallas in the first round (ninth overall pick) of the 2017 NBA Draft.
Known for his explosive vertical, which reportedly measured as high as 48 inches during pre-draft workouts, Smith is perhaps the most athletic guard to play for Rick Carlisle during his tenure as head coach. There’s more to his game, however; Smith led the ACC in assists per game as a freshman, for example, and finished third in steals. His ability in the pick-and-roll and rare combination of athleticism and floor vision should make him able to contribute in the NBA right away, and the Mavericks have even hinted he could start at point guard as a rookie.
No matter where he plays, though, Smith is one of the most exciting prospects to come through Dallas in some time, and the club can’t wait to get him on the floor.
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