Former NBA standout JR Smith has enrolled at North Carolina A&T and intends to join the historically Black university’s men’s golf team if he gets cleared by the NCAA, the university confirmed on Wednesday.
North Carolina A&T athletics spokesman Brian Holloway told ESPN that Smith is officially enrolled in the school and has petitioned the NCAA to be eligible to play. Smith’s clock to compete as a collegiate athlete has not yet started because he went to the NBA after high school. Athletes, in most cases, get five years to complete four years of eligibility.
At the pro-am at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, Smith told reporters Wednesday he decided to go back to school after a conversation with Basketball Hall of Famer Ray Allen.
“Ray Allen kind of convinced me,” Smith said Wednesday at the golf event. “We had a little golf trip in [the Dominican Republic] and he was talking about some of the things he was doing, about going back to school and challenging yourself for us athletes. I really took heed to it and decided to go back — and one of the best liberal studies programs is at A&T.”
Holloway said the next step in the process is navigating the 17 years since Smith’s senior year in high school (2004), which complicates the search for his academic records. But Smith is actively working to gain his eligibility, he said.
“We’re just going through the normal process we would go through with any prospective student-athlete,” Holloway said. “But this one is just a little different.”
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SOURCE: ESPN, Myron Medcalf