In some very unexpected news, Dennis Smith Jr., arguably the top ranked point guard in the Class of 2016, has given the NC State Wolfpack program a verbal commitment just one day after head coach Mark Gottfried and Assistant Coach Orlando Early landed on his school’s yard in a helicopter in the first day of the live period. He was also considering Duke, UNC, Wake Forest, Kentucky and Louisville.
Take note college coaches. If you want to land a top recruit, your visit should maybe look something like this on the very first day of the fall live period.
— Mark Gottfried (@Mark_Gottfried) September 9, 2015
Mark Gottfried, Orlando Early fly in to see Dennis Smith Jr. https://t.co/5tImJgTX6b
— Bret Strelow (@bretstrelow) September 9, 2015
N.C. State has landed its point guard of the future.
A day after coaches Mark Gottfried and Orlando Early used a helicopter for a recruiting trip to Fayetteville, Trinity Christian School senior Dennis Smith Jr. committed to the Wolfpack.
Smith’s father confirmed the news Thursday night. Efforts to reach Smith have been unsuccessful.
Smith, who is recovering from August surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, is ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect and No. 1 point guard in the Class of 2016 by ESPN. He chose N.C. State over Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Kentucky and Louisville before taking any official, on-campus recruiting visits.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Smith grew up as a fan of the Wolfpack, in part because his grandmother liked the school, and N.C. State was the first major program to offer him a scholarship.
“Growing up an N.C. State fan, I knew they would be one of my top schools,” Smith told ESPN. “Coach Gottfried made me a priority, showing up, sitting in front to all my games in the live periods. That loyalty meant a lot to me. After giving the decision a lot of thought, we all felt State was the best situation for me.”
The normal recovery time for an ACL tear is between six and 12 months, so Smith is likely to miss all of his senior season with Trinity Christian’s basketball team. He currently wears a large brace on his left leg and walks with the help of one crutch, which will be needed for only about another week and a half.
“It’s progressing faster than what (doctors) expected,” Smith said Wednesday. “It’s a blessing.
“I’m worried about getting healthy – I would love to play this season, but if I don’t and I have to take my time with it to get healthy for my first year of college, then that’s what’s going to have to happen.”