North Carolina Boys Basketball POY: Dennis Smith Jr.

North Carolina Boys Basketball POY: Dennis Smith Jr.

Gatorade State Player of the Year

North Carolina Boys Basketball POY: Dennis Smith Jr.

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THE WINNER: Dennis Smith Jr.

THE BASICS

School: Trinity Christian School (Fayetteville, N.C.)
Grade: Junior
Position: Guard
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds

Athletic achievement: He averaged 21.8 points per game this past season, leading the Crusaders (23-10) to the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association’s Class 1A state semifinals. Competing for Team United in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League this past summer, Smith averaged 12.0 points, 5.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per contest. Also a participant in the NBPA Top 100 and adidas Unrivaled camps in 2014, he was a member of the 2013-14 USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team.

Academic excellence: Smith has maintained a 3.90 weighted GPA and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award’s broad criteria.

Exemplary character: He has donated his time locally as part of multiple community service initiatives in coordination with his church.

THE PRAISE

“He could be one of the best high school basketball players I have seen in a long time,” said Dan Pruessner, head coach of rival Freedom Christian Academy. “He sees the floor really well. He’s crazy explosive. He scores at will. He has quick hands. He also dropped 22 points in a quarter on us, and 17 of those were on jump shots. So, he really has no weakness.”

THE FUTURE: Smith will be a senior this fall.

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