Dennis Smith Jr. was a ninth overall pick for the Dallas Mavericks in the 2017 NBA Draft. The point guard, who is known for his freakish athletic ability and explosiveness, has earned comparisons to established NBA point guards like John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Derrick Rose who he all aims to emulate on his journey to attaining greatness.
Early Life and Career
Dennis Smith Jr. was born to Helena Posia Owens and Dennis Smith Sr. on the 25th of November 1997 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. From a very young age, his father introduced him to the game of basketball, using various unorthodox techniques such as making his son wear gloves and wrapping the ball in a plastic bag in order for him to improve his ball handling skills. His father went on to coach his boy at various Amateur Athletic Union tournaments before he entered high school.
Smith Jr. played high school basketball at Trinity Christian School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. In his freshman year, he averaged 9.2 points and 3.0 assist per game coming off the bench. By his second year, he became a starter and helped his team to the 2014 NCISAA 1-A State Championship on the back of a 17.6 points, 9.3 assists, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.4 steals per game season. By his junior year, Dennis Smith Jr. had grown to become one of the most exciting players in his class. He led his school to a 23-10 record by averaging 22.2 points, 7.1 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 3 steals per game and was named the North Carolina Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year.
Smith Jr. missed his entire senior year after tearing his ACL. Prior to that, however, he had competed at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League and in the ESPNU summer showcase where he gained nationwide admiration for his skills. After graduating from high school, he committed to attend North Carolina State University despite interest from colleges like Kentucky, Duke, and the University of North Carolina.
In January 2016, Dennis Smith Jr. moved to his college early so he could complete his rehabilitation with the school’s medical staff. At the start of his first collegiate season in December that year, he earned ACC Freshman of the Week honors. A month later, he recorded his first triple-double in a win against the Virginia Tech Hokies. He recorded a second triple-double a few weeks later in a game against Syracuse to become the only player in ACC history to record two triple-doubles in an entire collegiate career against league opponents. 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 the ACC Rookie of the Year, he announced his decision to forgo his remaining college years and enter the draft.
Dennis Smith Jr. was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The highly regarded point guard was thrust into the thick of the action by his team and he did not show signs of crumbling under pressure. In his first professional season, he recorded his first career triple-double to become the third-youngest player in NBA history to achieve such a feat behind LeBron James and Lonzo Ball. He went on to average 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. Parents
Dennis Smith Jr. has as his father, Smith Sr. to thank for raising him properly and teaching him everything he needed to know, both in basketball and in life, which has all culminated in making him the person and baller he is today. Smith Sr. was charged with raising Jr. and his older sister, De’Aira, after their mother, Helena, abandoned the family when Smith Jr. was just 13 months old. The exact reason(s) why Helena left her two children are unclear as the family does not like talking about it. The one time Smith Jr. was able to delve into it, he revealed that he had very limited contact with his mother in the beginning, but however in recent times, they have been able to build some sort of relationship over the phone.
Dennis Smith Sr. has been described as a model parent by people who knew the family in the neighborhood in which he raised his kids. To provide for his family, Smith Sr. had a stint in the Army, mostly as a reservist, before moving on to a variety of other jobs, including working as a correctional officer, and then a medical equipment technician.
His Height, Weight, and Body Measurements
Dennis Smith Jr. has a height of 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) which ties him at second place on the tallest Dallas Mavericks point guard list. He further has a weight of 195 pounds (88 kg) and a wingspan of 1.9 m. His other body measurements like his biceps, chest and waist have not been disclosed at the moment.