NBA Champion J.R. Smith has enrolled at North Carolina A&T, a historically Black university in Greensboro that has produced the likes of Jesse Jackson, Terrence J, Rep. Alma Adams and several others. While there, he hopes to begin a liberal studies track and play collegiate golf.
“Ray Allen kind of convinced me,” Smith said when asked why he decided to continue his education.
“We had a little golf trip in [the Dominican Republic] and he was talking about some of the things he was doing, about going back to school and challenging yourself for us athletes. I really took heed to it and decided to go back — and one of the best liberal studies programs is at A&T.”
Unfortunately, there will be a few hurdles for Smith. If he intends to play collegiate golf, he will have to make the team and provide his high school transcripts. However, Smith graduated from high school in 2004, so searching for his academic records may be difficult.
“We’re just going through the normal process we would go through with any prospective student-athlete,” North Carolina A&T spokesman Brian Holloway said.
“But this one is just a little different.”
The historically Black university will work hard to bring in the NBA Champion. As North Carolina A&T golf coach Richard Watkins puts it, Smith’s participation would be a “big deal” for his program.
“It’s not very often that somebody in his position really has an opportunity to have a thought, a dream, an idea, and to be able to go ahead and move in that direction,” Watkins explained.
“He’s a former professional athlete, but [it’s] a unique set of circumstances. He didn’t go to college, never matriculated, the clock never started.”