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JR Smith petitions to play golf after enrolling at North Carolina A&T

Former NBA standout JR Smith has enrolled at North Carolina A&T and intends to hitch the traditionally Black college’s males’s golf workforce if he will get cleared by the NCAA, the college confirmed on Wednesday.

North Carolina A&T athletics spokesman Brian Holloway informed ESPN that Smith is formally enrolled within the faculty and has petitioned the NCAA to be eligible to play. Smith’s clock to compete as a collegiate athlete has not but began as a result of he went to the NBA after highschool. Athletes, most often, get 5 years to finish 4 years of eligibility.

On the pro-am on the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, Smith informed reporters Wednesday he determined to return to high school after a dialog with Basketball Corridor of Famer Ray Allen.

“Ray Allen form of satisfied me,” Smith mentioned Wednesday on the golf occasion. “We had a bit golf journey in [the Dominican Republic] and he was speaking about a number of the issues he was doing, about going again to high school and difficult your self for us athletes. I actually took heed to it and determined to return — and the most effective liberal research packages is at A&T.”

Holloway mentioned the following step within the course of is navigating the 17 years since Smith’s senior yr in highschool (2004), which complicates the seek for his tutorial information. However Smith is actively working to achieve his eligibility, he mentioned.

“We’re simply going by means of the traditional course of we’d undergo with any potential student-athlete,” Holloway mentioned. “However this one is just a bit totally different.”

Per NCAA guidelines, “a person shall not be eligible for intercollegiate athletics in a sport if the person ever competed on an expert workforce in that sport.” However the legal guidelines don’t ban a former professional athlete from competing in a special sport. A number of collegiate athletes have performed skilled sports activities earlier than returning to high school to compete in Division I athletics.

Chris Weinke was 25 when he enrolled at Florida State after six seasons {of professional} baseball. Weinke led Florida State to a nationwide title in 1999. He received the Heisman Trophy a yr later, when he was 28.

Smith performs with a 5 handicap, in keeping with North Carolina A&T golf coach Richard Watkins informed the location on Wednesday that having Smith on the workforce could be “a giant deal for A&T.”

“It is not fairly often that someone in his place actually has a chance to have a thought, a dream, an thought, and to have the ability to go forward and transfer in that path,” Watkins mentioned. “He is a former skilled athlete, however [it’s] a singular set of circumstances. He did not go to varsity, by no means matriculated, the clock by no means began.”

Smith, a McDonald’s All-American in highschool, initially dedicated to play for Roy Williams and North Carolina earlier than he determined to rent an agent and enter the 2004 NBA draft. The New Orleans Hornets chosen Smith with the 18th choose. Smith received two NBA titles as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers (2015-16) and the Los Angeles Lakers (2019-20). He additionally received the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Yr award through the 2012-13 season.

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