We have been covering Dennis Smith Jr since his freshman year of high school and he has provided the fans with incredible play after incredible play. Now, at 19 years old, Dennis Smith Jr has declared for the 2017 NBA Draft. Smith’s freshman year at NC State wasn’t ideal in terms of the win/loss record but what he was able to do was nothing short of amazing.
He was one of two players in Division I to post two triple-doubles. Smith is the fifth player in ACC history – first freshman and first to do it against two league opponents – to record a pair of triple-doubles in a single season. Virginia great Ralph Sampson was the only other freshman to record a triple double in the ACC.
Smith was named freshman of the year by the league — the program’s first since Hawkeye Whitney shared the award in 1977 — as well as ACC newcomer of the year by the AP. He led all ACC freshmen in scoring (18.1), led the league in assists (6.2) and ranked second in steals (1.9).
The 6-foot-3 point guard did it in his first full season back from a major knee injury suffered shortly before his senior year of high school, an injury that led him to enroll a semester early in January 2016 to focus on his rehab before making his playing debut that November.
Smith said he planned to complete his college degree.
The high point was his dominating 32-point performance during the Wolfpack’s first win at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1995. He also had triple-doubles against Virginia Tech (27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) and Syracuse (13 points, 11 rebounds 15 assists), while his 16 assists against Rider in December were tied for the most in any Division I game this year.
Still, the losses piled up. The Wolfpack (15-17, 4-14 ACC) lost five games by at least 24 points after being picked to finish sixth in the preseason, a prediction based largely on Smith’s arrival. Although just a pit stop for Smith, his time in Raleigh will not soon be forgotten and his future in the NBA could be a special one. Keep your eyes locked on draft day, we’ll all be watching and wishing Dennis the best!