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Dennis Smith Jr Receives Honorary Key to the City of Fayetteville

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Former NC State ACC Freshman of the Year Dennis Smith Jr has never forgotten where he came from, no matter how high he’s climbed the ladder.

Earlier this week, Mitch Colvin, the mayor of Fayetteville, presented Smith Jr with a ceremonial key to the city “in recognition of his efforts to support the youth and provide exceptional leadership to the citizens of Fayetteville both on and off the court.” (FayObserver)

DSJ threw down his first dunk on Langdon Street at Seabrook Park’s Smith Recreation Center, and back in February, in partnership with Under Armour, he unveiled a pair of refurbished courts there.

“Most of the time when those guys get to stardom, particularly in a market like New York City, it’s hard to remember your hometown,” Colvin said.

“I was real impressed by the investment that he partnered with Under Armour to redo the Seabrook court. That’s one of the most underserved areas in the city. That meant a lot to the community and that’s home for me. That’s just one of the things. … I understand that he’s very active in the community in some other ways.”

“If you’re ever around him, he’s a very humble guy,” Colvin said.

“He just blends in with the crowd. To me, that says that success doesn’t define your character, necessarily. He’s shown that you can be successful and still maintain a level head, which says a lot. That’s inspiring to the youth that we have here.” (FayObserver)

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Justin Gainey Named Associate Head Coach at Marquette

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Former NC State Point Guard Justin Gainey (1997-00) has been hired by Marquette as their Associate Head Coach, serving along head coach Steve Wojciechowski, the former Duke point guard.

“We are excited to welcome Justin and the Gainey family back to Marquette,” Wojciechowski said.  “Justin is one of the nation’s top rising coaches and his talents, ability to build meaningful relationships and myriad of experiences alongside some of the game’s best teachers will serve our program, and most importantly our players, incredibly well.” (Link)

This isn’t Gainey’s first stint at Marquette, serving as Director of Operations from 2014-17. The past two seasons, Gainey served as an Assistant Coach with Sean Miller at Arizona. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant Coach at Santa Clara for one season with his former head coach at NC State, Herb Sendek.

Gainey’s coaching career began at NC State, where he served as Director of Operations for three seasons (2006-09), and then he went on to work at Appalachian State and Elon as well.

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Dennis Smith Jr. Showing Love to Fayetteville in the Midst of Covid-19

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Former NC State Freshman of the Year Dennis Smith Jr. never forgets where he came from. The New York Knicks Point Guard is always showing love for Fayetteville, North Carolina.

According to Ian Begley, DSJ is providing food vouchers for 575 first responders at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, and 32 computers for local students in Fayetteville.

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Andrew Knizner Enters 2020 as the #6 Prospect in the Cardinals Organization

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Former NC State Catcher Andrew Knizner enters the 2020 season ranked as the #6 prospect in the Cardinals organization.

Knizner was drafted in the 7th round by St. Louis in 2016, and was called up for the 1st time to the Big Leagues last year, when Yadier Molina was placed on the disabled list.

The jump wasn’t an easy one, with Knizner hitting .226 in 18 games.

Despite some time in the Majors at the end of last season, Knizner will begin 2020 in Triple-A Memphis, where he has already played 83 games, hitting .283.

Cardinals legend Molina is back to full strength, and backup Matt Wieters was signed to a 1-year deal, meaning it’s not quite time for Knizner.

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Will Wilson Enters 2020 as the #10 Prospect in the Giants Organization

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Former NC State All-American Shortstop Will Wilson will is entering the 2020 baseball season ranked as the #10 prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization.

After being drafted by the Angels with the 15th overall pick in the MLB Draft last year, Wilson hit .275 in 46 games of Rookie ball with the Orem Owlz.

In December, the Angels traded him to the Giants.

In his final season at NC State, Wilson led the team with a .335 batting average, 20 doubles, 16 home runs and a .661 slugging percentage, and finished eighth all-time in career doubles (57) and homers (39), and ninth in total bases (409).

Wilson is the 3rd highest draft pick in NC State history, and only the 2nd batter to be drafted in the 1st round, alongside another shortstop who is currently in the league as well: Trea Turner.

According to MLB.com, Wilson is expected to make it to the Majors in 2022.

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