Over a week after former NBA champion J.R. Smith announced that he would be enrolling at North Carolina A&T as a student, the NCAA has announced that he will be eligible to join the Aggies’ golf team as a walk-on.
Upon hearing the news of his declared eligibility, Smith said that it was “probably one of the most exciting feelings I’ve had in a while.”
He also talked about the uncertainty behind the NCAA’s decision about his eligibility saying, “I really didn’t know how it was going to go but to be able to actually call myself a student-athlete is a great feeling.”
The 35-year-old entered the NBA in 2004 out of Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, New Jersey forgoing the college process.
He played 15 years in the NBA averaging 12.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in his career. Smith was well-known for his three-point shooting making 1,930 threes, the 16th most in NBA history.
In the 2012-2013 season, Smith won the Sixth Man of the Year award as a member of the New York Knicks averaging a career-high 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds.
He won two NBA championships in his career one with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015-2016 famously against the Golden State Warriors who won an NBA record 73 regular-season games. The other came in the 2019-2020 season as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
In an interview with WFMY News 2, Smith says that he started playing golf 12 years ago and was taught by the late NBA legend Moses Malone.
He also told the Associated Press, “It’s going to be fun. Obviously different environments from playing in front of 20,000 people to playing in a college golf gallery. But it’s still as nerve-racking as shooting a free throw in front of 5,000 instead of making a 5-foot putt in front of three. So it all correlates the same for me.”
The Aggies will see their first action on the links Sept. 24-25 when they play in the Black College Golf Coaches Association Invitational in Newnan, Georgia.