Dennis Smith, Jr. is taking his acrobatic dunks to the biggest stage.
The former N.C. State point guard and Dallas Mavericks rookie, has been invited to participate in the 2018 Dunk Contest during All-Star Saturday Night on Feb. 17 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The rest of the field includes Lakers forward Larry Nance, Jr., Pacers guard Victor Oladipo and Magic forward Aaron Gordon, who won the contest in 2016. The participants were announced on the NBA pregame show on TNT Thursday night.
Smith had a steal against the Washington Wizards on Jan. 23 and finished off the fastbreak with an impressive 360 dunk. Afterwards, the Mavs posted on the team twitter account ‘Sooo ... dunk contest?’ and sent the message to the NBA’s official twitter handle.
Smith (6-3, 195 pounds) has been putting on a show when it comes to dunks dating back to his high school days at Fayetteville’s Trinity Christian Academy. Not even an ACL tear could slow down Smith, who enrolled early at N.C. State to help rehab his knee. Once he returned to the court Smith showed no signs of the injury, giving Wolfpack fans one amazing dunk after another on his way to ACC Rookie of the Year honors.
The only other former N.C. State player to win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest was Spud Webb in 1986 when he played for the Atlanta Hawks. N.C. State legend David Thompson finished second to Julius Erving in the first ever Slam Dunk competition in 1976.
Here are some of Smith’s best dunks during him time at N.C. State
N.C. State at Duke, Jan. 23
Perhaps his most memorable dunk in a Wolfpack uniform came against Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium during N.C. State’s 84-82 win. Smith recovered a loose ball that bounce off the foot of Duke’s Jayson Tatum. Even though time expired, Smith took off from the free throw line, cocked the ball back and hammered the ball down. Smith would later turn the form from his dunk into a logo.
Rider at N.C. State, Dec. 28
Smith took off from near the ACC logo just below the foul line, with four Rider defenders surrounding him and punched the ball in for a thunderous one-handed dunk.
Tennessee State at N.C. State, Dec. 10
Against Tennessee State earlier his freshman season at N.C. State, Smith took off from near the charge circle and did an impressive windmill dunk.
Primetime with the Pack, Oct. 21
During the Wolfpack’s Red-White scrimmage last season, Smith threw the ball off the backboard to himself, splitting the defense, catching the ball and slamming it home.