Dennis Smith Jr. of Trinity Christian School is the 2014-15 Gatorade North Carolina Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Smith Jr. is the first Gatorade North Carolina Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Trinity Christian School.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Smith Jr. as North Carolina’s best high school boys basketball player.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound junior guard averaged 21.8 points per game this past season, leading the Crusaders (23-10) to the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association’s Class 1A state semifinals. Competing for Team United in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League this past summer, Smith averaged 12.0 points, 5.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per contest. Also a participant in the NBPA Top 100 and adidas Unrivaled camps in 2014, he was a member of the 2013-14 USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team.
Smith has maintained a 3.90 weighted GPA in the classroom and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award’s broad criteria. He has donated his time locally as part of multiple community service initiatives in coordination with his church.
“He could be one of the best high school basketball players I have seen in a long time,” said Dan Pruessner, head coach of rival Freedom Christian Academy. “He sees the floor really well. He’s crazy explosive. He scores at will. He has quick hands. He also dropped 22 points in a quarter on us, and 17 of those were on jump shots. So, he really has no weakness.”
Smith will begin his senior year of high school this fall.