North Carolina State freshman Dennis Smith Jr. has made himself eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft, declaring today in a conversation with ESPN’s Paul Biancardi. Smith will hire an agent, which will conclude his college career after one season, and shutting the door on any possible return to Raleigh.

“It’s always been my dream to try and play in the NBA,” Smith told Biancardi. “The timing is perfect for me and my family to make this decision. I want to thank all my teammates, coaches and the fans of NC State. I am thankful for Coach [Mark] Gottfried and all that he has done for me.”

The Fayetteville native was named the ACC Freshman of the Year after averaging 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds per-game. After tearing his ACL his senior year of high school, he decided to enroll early in Raleigh during the 2015-2016 season to learn the offense and get ahead of schedule in regard to his classes. What Smith did on the court was spectacular even though the Wolfpack failed to make the tournament, posting a 15-17 record.

An explosive 6″2 guard, Smith thrives in transition using his bounce and incredible body-control to make hard finishes look easy. Not considered a “pass-first” point guard, Smith is the model of today’s scoring lead guard, but showcases an ability to find shooters and make the right pass. While Smith could certainly use some work in a half-court setting, his handle, explosiveness and pull-up jumper indicates that part of his game will certainty grow.

With the NBA Draft process starting for teams already out of the playoffs, many project Smith to be a lottery pick and possibly as high as being picked in the top-five. ESPN’s Chad Ford has Smith listed as his fourth overall prospect and third point guard behind Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball. With teams like the Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn), Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, and Orlando Magic posting the five worst NBA records, Smith’s name could certainty be called early early on in the night.

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