NC State men’s basketball freshman guard Dennis Smith, Jr., was named the ACC Freshman of the Year Sunday as the league announced the 2016-17 season award winners.
Smith was also selected to the All-ACC second team and All-ACC freshman team in voting by the 53-member panel (15 head coaches and 38 selected media).
Smith joins former Pack great Hawkeye Whitney as the only NC State players to be named ACC Freshman of the Year. Whitney shared co-Rookie of the Year honors with Duke’s Mike Gminski in 1977.
After being overwhelmingly chosen as the ACC preseason Freshman of the Year by the league’s media members last October, Smith met expectations by ranking fifth among ACC scorers with 18.5 points per game and leading the league in assists with 6.3 per contests. Smith has also registered 60 steals in 31 games (1.94 per contest), second among ACC players in that category. The Fayetteville, N.C., native became the only player in conference history to register two triple-doubles in the same season and he has scored at least 30 points in an ACC-best four games.
Smith’s scoring average of 18.5 points is the highest for a freshman in NC State history and he needs two more steals to surpass Chris Corchiani for the most steals by a freshman in NC State history. The three-time ACC Freshman of the Week has 196 assists on the year and needs four more to become the second freshman in Pack history to record 200 assists in their freshman season (Corchiani – 235 in 1987-88).
Smith’s inclusion on the All-ACC second team marks the fourth straight season and fifth time in last six seasons NC State has had either a first or second team selection on the All-ACC team. Smith is the first Pack player to make the league’s All-Freshman team since TJ Warren in 2013.
Smith is one of 12 players named to the midseason watch list for the Wayman Tisdale Award (national freshman of the year) and one of 10 players named as a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award (best point guard in the country).
Smith and his teammates are back in action Tuesday in the ACC first round at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. NC State is the 13th-seed in this year’s tournament and will play 12th-seed Clemson at noon with the game being televised on ESPN2 and the ACC Network.