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Former NBA Player Ruled Eligible for College Golf

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The NCAA has given J.R. Smith the go-ahead. Now, the former NBA player’s name is officially on the North Carolina A&T men’s golf roster.

“It was probably one of the most exciting feelings I’ve had in a while,” Smith said of learning his eligibility, according to The Undefeated. “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 Smith never attended college after graduating from St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in New Jersey in 2004. He was drafted 18th overall by the New Orleans Hornets, and averaged 12.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while winning two NBA titles in a 16-year career.

With his playing career over, Smith said earlier this month that he was enrolling at North Carolina A&T and interested in playing golf.

“Ray Allen kind of convinced me,” Smith said, in a video tweeted by WFMY’s Brian Hall, before teeing off at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C. “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.”

According to PGATour.com, Smith, who plays to a 5 handicap, started classes Aug. 18.

The North Carolina A&T golf team’s first meet of the 2021-22 school year is scheduled to be the Black College Golf Coaches Association Invitational on Sept. 24-25 in Newnan, Georgia.

Related content: Former NBA Champion Sets Sights on College Golf

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