The Wolfpacker

November 2015 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 138 of 155

NOVEMBER 2015 ■ 137 out a lot both off the court and on. I'm three years younger than the youngest one. I'm more mature than a lot of people my age. That kind of gave me an edge in basketball, playing up [against older opponents] my whole life." Smith "played up" during his eighth grade year when he was on the varsity squad at Fayetteville Freedom Christian, and he played against NC State redshirt junior Terry Henderson at the time. Smith made the move to Trinity Christian his freshman year. After an up-and-down freshman year, he finished strong with 20 points in the NCISAA 1A state title game, but the Crusaders fell 75-68 to Word of God. "My freshman year was a roller coaster," Smith said. "I was giving coach Heath Vandevender a glimpse of what I could do. My minutes were kind of low my freshman year. He didn't have a lot of trust in me, and I can say I didn't give him much of a reason to. "For me to have a game like that [in the state title game], that definitely changed my role for my sophomore year." Smith made sure the next year there was no doubts on his potential, consistency or winning pedigree. He exploded at the Holiday Invitational with 29 points in the fourth quarter en route to 41 in a game against future North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson and his Houston home-schooled HCYA squad Dec. 27, 2013, at Raleigh Broughton High. That is when he earned his NC State schol- arship offer from Gottfried. He eventually avenged his freshman year state title game loss with a game-high 22 points to lead Trinity Christian to a 64-63 win over Wilson (N.C.) Greenfield School. Smith scored the last four points of the game and showed off his clutch free throw shooting. "That was great to win," Smith said. "We had some adversity in that game with Kwe Parker getting ejected. He was one of our starters. We just came together and rallied as a team like we are supposed to. We came out with the win." The quest for a repeat ended with a thud last year. The Burlington School topped Trinity Christian 66-43 in the state semi- finals, with Smith scoring eight points in what turned out to potentially be the last time he played for Trinity Christian if his current rehabilitation extends to March. "I'm past it now, but for about a week, that game killed me," Smith said. "They played a great game, though, and I can't take anything away from them. They made their shots, played defense and did a great job of executing." Smith, who is listed as the No. 4 overall prospect in the class of 2016, is the highest-ranked player to commit to NC State during the era (since 2003). PHOTO BY JACEY ZEMBAL

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