Dennis Smith Jr. was the ninth overall choice for the Dallas Mavericks in the 2017 NBA Draft. Known for his exceptional athletic ability and explosiveness, the point guard has earned comparisons with established NBA point guards such as John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Derrick Rose, all of whom he hopes to emulate on his path to greatness.
Dennis Smith Jr Early Life and Career
Dennis Smith Jr. was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina on November 25, 1997, the son of Helena Posia Owens and Dennis Smith Sr. At a very young age, his father introduced him to the game of basketball by using various unorthodox techniques, such as making his son wear gloves and wrapping the ball in a plastic bag to improve his ball-handling skills. His father trained his son in various tournaments of the Amateur Athletic Union before he entered high school.
Smith Jr. played high school basketball at Trinity Christian School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. In his first year of college, he averaged 9.2 points and 3.0 assists per game when he came off the bench. In his second year, he became a starter and helped his team to the 2014 NCISAA 1-A State Championship with 17.6 points, 9.3 assists, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.4 steals per game season. By his junior year, Dennis Smith Jr. had become one of the most exciting players in his class. He led his school to a 23-10 record with an average of 22.2 points, 7.1 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 3 steals per game and was named North Carolina Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year.
Smith Jr. missed his entire senior year after tearing up the ACL. Before that, however, he had participated in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League and the ESPNU Summer Show, where he earned nationwide admiration for his skills. After graduating high school, he committed to attend North Carolina State University, despite interest from colleges such as Kentucky, Duke, and the University of North Carolina.
In January 2016, Dennis Smith Jr. transferred to his college early so that he could complete his rehabilitation with the school’s medical staff. He received the ACC Freshman of the Week award at the beginning of his first college season in December of the same year. A month later, he recorded his first triple-double with a win against the Virginia Tech Hokies. A few weeks later, he recorded a second triple-double in a game against Syracuse, becoming the only player in ACC history to score two triple-doubles against league opponents in an entire college career. At the end of the season, after averaging 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game in 32 games and being named ACC Rookie of the Year, he announced his decision to give up his remaining college years and enter the draft.
Dennis Smith, Jr. was selected by the Dallas Mavericks as the ninth overall winner of the 2017 NBA Draft. The highly respected point guard was pushed into the thick of the action by his team and showed no signs of collapsing under pressure. In his first season as a pro, he scored his first triple-double in his career, making him the third-youngest player in NBA history to achieve such a feat behind LeBron James and Lonzo Ball. He averaged 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game in 69 games and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
Dennis Smith Jr. owes it to his father, Smith Sr., for raising him right and teaching him everything he needed to know, both in basketball and in life, all of which has led to him becoming the person and ballplayer he is today. Smith Sr. was assigned to raise Jr. and his older sister De’Aira after their mother Helena left the family when Smith Jr. was just 13 months old. The exact reason(s) why Helena left her two children is unclear, as the family does not like to talk about it. The one time Smith Jr. was able to get to the bottom of this, he revealed that he had very limited contact with his mother at first, but that they had been able to establish some kind of relationship over the phone lately.
Dennis Smith Sr. was described as an exemplary parent by people who knew the family in the neighborhood where he raised his children. In order to provide for his family’s upkeep, Smith Sr. served in the army for a time, primarily as a reservist, before taking a number of other jobs, including prison officers and then medical equipment technicians.
Dennis Smith Jr Height, Weight, and Body Measurements
Dennis Smith Jr. is 1.91 m (5’8″) tall and thus occupies second place on the highest point protection list of the Dallas Mavericks. He also has a weight of 195 pounds (88 kg) and a wingspan of 1.9 m. His other body measurements like biceps, chest, and waist are not known at the moment.