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Knicks only can hope to snag one of the great point guards

Knicks only can hope to snag one of the great point guards
Published On: Sun, Jun 04
Jan 3, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Kent Bazemore (24) drives against NewYork Knicks forward Derrick Williams (23) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. New York Knicks won 111-97. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The celebration inside the Neuse Christian Academy locker room in Red Springs, N.C., became wild after the high-school team survived a last-second battle against Freedom Christian. That is, until its coach, Ken Adrian, angrily entered the room.

You guys are all proud and going crazy, he snapped at them. You guys just beat an eighth grader.

That eighth grader was Dennis Smith Jr., who had dominated his older opponents. Shooting guard Terry Henderson played alongside Smith at North Carolina State this season and created their share of highlight plays, but the two were opponents in that game five years ago. It remains an indelible memory.

Ive been a fan ever since that moment, Henderson recalled. Checked up on him, saw him grow as a young man. So Im not surprised now. I saw it coming a long time ago. Throwing the ball off the backboard and dunking it in the eighth grade of a high-school game. He was doing things eighth-graders dont do.

The 6-foot-3, 19-year-old point guard " known by his friends as Junior " finished his freshman year at N.C. State and became the NBA drafts most mysteriously intriguing draft prospect " called its most athletic prospect.

Yet, partly because of N.C. States miserable season (4-14 in the ACC), fusses about bad body language, a bad injury (torn ACL before his senior year in high school) and spotty pick-and-roll defense, several mock drafts have him dipping to No. 8, where the Knicks sit.

However, The Post has learned Smith will work out for the Celtics on June 7. Yes, the Celtics, who own the first pick and figure to nab Washingtons Markelle Fultz. Smith already has worked out for Orlando (No. 6), according to sources, and has tentative dates with the Lakers (No. 2) and Knicks.

Hes going to be one of the great point guards in the league, Henderson said. Any team that passes him will pay for it later on. If hes lower than 5, its somebodys loss.

N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried, fired along with his staff after a dreadful season that carried large expectations, told The Post recently Smith has Russell Westbrook athleticism.

Read the complete news article here...


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