JR Smith may be 35 years old, but that doesn’t mean his athletic dreams are extinguished.
Smith skipped going to college and went straight from high school to the NBA in 2004 but said he began thinking about going to college during a trip to the Dominican Republic with Hall of Famer Ray Allen.
“And to have that feeling and knowing that all of the game’s pretty much on my own hands, and I don’t have to worry about teammates to pass the ball and receiving passes and playing defense, so I can play my game and just have fun.”
Smith can often be seen among the gallery at PGA Tour events — and he says he plays to a five handicap.
He has petitioned the NCAA to be eligible to play but it is not clear on how long that process will take.
It does not ban a former professional athlete from competing in a different sport.
Richard Watkins, who coaches both the men’s and women’s teams at the university, said Smith’s arrival is a “big deal.”
“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.”
The 6-foot-6 shooting guard played professionally for a host of NBA teams, winning NBA titles with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 and Los Angeles Lakers in 2020.