Dennis Smith Jr. Steps Up For Hometown of Fayetteville

Brett Friedlander

Dennis Smith Jr.'s name isn't always mentioned in the most positive light considering the results of his one season at NC State and the NCAA allegations that came out of it.

These days, though, the 2017 ACC Rookie of the Year is in the news for a good reason thanks to his response to the continuing coronavirus crisis.

According to a report by Alex Smith of The Knicks Blog on sny.tv, Smith has purchased 575 food vouchers for first responders at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in his hometown of Fayetteville and computers that will allow 32 local students to continue their education remotely while schools are closed.

"Fayetteville and basketball have given so much to me, and today was another chance for me to give back to my community, while saying thanks," Smith said in a statement released by the Knicks. "I wanted to show support for the real heroes during these tragic times - the first responders. And show them that I have their back, just like they have ours."

Smith, now a member of the NBA's New York Knicks, was born in Fayetteville and attended Trinity Christian School there before playing his one and only college season at State. he averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists, and 1.9 steals in his 32 games with the Wolfpack before deciding to enter the NBA draft.

He was taken with the ninth overall pick by the Dallas Mavericks and was subsequently traded to the Knicks. He is averaging 14.5 points and 5.0 assists in his three professional seasons.

Although Smith had several personal highlights at State, including triple-doubles against Virginia Tech and Syracuse, and a career-high 32 points in an upset of Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium, State finished the season with a 15-17 record (4-14 ACC).

As of Saturday, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has reported 935 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 10 deaths statewide. Ten of those cases have been reported in the Fayetteville area.

On Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order, effective on Monday, directing residents of the state to stay at home except for essential businesses, to exercise outdoors or to help a family member, and banning gatherings of more than 10 people for the next 30 days.

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