NC State Wolfpack guard Dennis Smith, Jr may be in a unique position to win best player in the ACC as a freshman.
Since 1953, there has been only one freshman to win the coveted ACC Player of the Year award in college basketball. Duke’s Jahlil Okafor was this person in 2015.
Current NC State Wolfpack point guard Dennis Smith, Jr. may be the second freshman to ever win this award. Smith could possibly be the sixth N.C. State player to win the ACC Player of the Year award. Others who won this award include Ronnie Shavlik (1956), Lou Pucillo (1959), David Thompson (1972-1975), Rodney Monroe (1991), and T.J. Warren (2014).
Smith averages 18.7 points, 5.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game this season. He makes 41% of his field goals, 87% of his free throws and 28% of his three-point field goals. He leads the NC State Wolfpack in points, steals and free throw percentage.
Smith ranks fourth in points and fourth in assists per game in the ACC. Similar to Frank Howard (Syracuse), Ben Lammers (Georgia Tech), Amile Jefferson (Duke) and John Collins (Wake Forest), Smith ranks within the top five in the ACC in more than one category. Duke’s Jefferson is in the top five in three categories.
Smith is clearly the frontrunner for ACC Rookie of the Year. Unexpectedly, he is one of the frontrunners for the ACC Player of the Year. Once his resume’ on the court gets several more references, Smith’s name will be echoed throughout the ACC and the country. When N.C. State plays Duke, North Carolina and Virginia, Smith will be thrust into conversations pertaining to how good he is compared to the top point guards in the conference.
The only critique about Smith’s game is his three-point shooting. Once he tweaks his shot selection, his three-point field goal percentage will increase. Smith is a scoring guard though he is a true point guard. He has the total package. He excels when attacking defenses with his penetration.
Other than his three-pointers, Smith is the real deal. His game is beyond his age and classification. He is a freshman at N.C. State, he plays like a seasoned veteran on the basketball court.
There are a lot of extraordinary freshmen in the nation. Smith is one of them and arguably the best one. There are a great deal of good players at the college level. Smith is arguably in the top 10 or top five this season. If he is not in your list, he should be.
The ACC schedule will be packed with several great games on a weekly basis. Get a ticket to see this young man’s wizardry with the basketball. Several sites project him to be a top three pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Before that takes place, he is going to put N.C. State back on the basketball map.