Dennis Smith Jr. taken with ninth pick in 2017 NBA Draft by Mavericks

Former NC State point guard becomes highest Wolfpack player selected in 15 years

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
North Carolina State guard Dennis Smith Jr. (4) high fives teammates as the Wolfpack are introduced before the college men's basketball game on Friday

Just over three months ago, Dennis Smith Jr. saw his collegiate career come to an end in the Barclays Center. On Thursday night, Smith saw his NBA career begin in the the same building when he was drafted No. 9 overall by the Dallas Mavericks.Smith’s selection made him the highest overall pick for an NC State player since Tom Gugliotta went No. 6 overall to to the Washington Bullets in 1992. The last guard to go in the top 10 for NC State in the NBA draft? That was Kenny Carr, who was taken at No. 6 in 1977 — yeah, 40 years ago — to the Lakers.In his lone season with the Wolfpack, Smith averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 50.9 percent on two-point attempts. The top-10 selection was about more than Smith’s stats and eye-popping abilities as a point guard, though, as DSJ already has strong connections in Dallas.Mavericks assistant and ball handling legend God Shammgod trained Dennis Smith Jr. in high school. Believes Smith to be best PG in draft.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 23, 2017
There’s also some familiarity in Dallas with former Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried popping up during Mavs camps working with former players C.J. Williams and Cat Barber. Came to mini camp for the Mavs and ran into my young guy @honest12_ and @mark_gottfried it is great to be able to play in front of him again! #reunion #packinthepros #wolfblood A post shared by CJ Williams (@c_will_21) on Jun 19, 2017 at 3:05pm PDT
Currently Yogi Ferrell, J.J. Barea and Devin Harris are the top options at point guard for the Mavericks. With Ferrell’s future in Dallas uncertain while Barea and Harris are solely good role players at the position, Smith could get plenty of playing time next season as a rookie.He comes off a record-setting year at NC State despite the poor performance of the team overall. Smith registered two triple-doubles on the year to become the first ACC player to ever do so in conference play. The only other NC State player to even record one in a career was Julius Hodge.Smith brings supreme athleticism and has a quick first step that makes him much more of a threat as a scorer at the point guard position. He’s already been compared to the likes of Russell Westbrook and John Wall for his athletic ability, but has a smaller wingspan than both NBA superstars.At 19 years old, Smith has a bright future ahead of him in the Lone Star State as the potential centerpiece of the franchise in the years to come.