NCAA guidelines former NBA champion J.R. Smith eligible to play faculty golf: 'A terrific feeling'

J.R. Smith is heading to varsity for the primary time, and the previous NBA champion will get to name himself a student-athlete.

The NCAA dominated Smith eligible to compete for the golf staff at North Carolina A&T. There had been questions on whether or not the NCAA would permit him to play given its amateurism guidelines, however as a result of Smith hasn’t gone professional in golf, he was dominated eligible to play.

Now, Smith, 35, is simply excited to start life as a student-athlete.

“It was in all probability probably the most thrilling emotions I’ve had shortly. I actually did not know the way it was going to go,” Smith mentioned of his eligibility. “However to have the ability to truly name myself a student-athlete is a good feeling.”

MORE: J.R. Smith’s faculty eligibility defined

Smith has been an avid golfer since 2009. He fell in love with the sport whereas taking part in in Moses Malone’s charity basic and has honed his abilities over time. He now shoots to a reported 5-handicap.

North Carolina A&T’s coach, Richard Watkins, believes Smith will present a lift to their staff.

“The efficiency of my golf staff simply acquired a serving to hand as a result of the younger man in query is unquestionably a superb participant,” Watkins mentioned of Smith, per ESPN.

Smith is aware of he may help, and he is wanting ahead to returning to a pressure-packed, aggressive surroundings.

“It will be enjoyable,” Smith mentioned in a Monday information convention. “Clearly totally different environments from taking part in in entrance of 20,000 folks to taking part in in a university golf gallery.

“However it’s nonetheless as nerve-racking as capturing a free throw in entrance of 5,000 as an alternative of creating a 5-foot putt in entrance of three. So all of it correlates the identical for me.”

Smith averaged 12.4 factors per sport on 37.3 p.c 3-point capturing throughout his 17-season profession. He additionally received two NBA championships, one with the Cavaliers and one with the Lakers in the course of the 2019-20 season.

Now, he’ll look so as to add some golf {hardware} to his trophy case.

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