Smith making waves in NBA D-League

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 02/03/2012
Hot hoopster: Former Waikato Pistons guard Jerry Smith has been grabbing the spotlight in the NBA D-League.
Mark Taylor
Hot hoopster: Former Waikato Pistons guard Jerry Smith has been grabbing the spotlight in the NBA D-League.

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Former Waikato Pistons guard Jerry Smith is leaping to the attention of NBA teams.

Smith, who was a standout import in last year's Pistons side which was surprisingly knocked out of the NZ National Basketball League playoffs in the semifinals, has been in impressive form for his NBA Development League team Springfield Armor.

His performances saw him selected for the recent D-League All Star game, which saw Smith play almost 24 minutes for the East in a 135-132 defeat to the West. The 1.83 metre point guard scored 14 points on 6-11 shooting, dished out six assists, grabbed five rebounds and a steal and had just one turnover to further highlight his potential as a prospective NBA player.

He also had a highlight play with an explosive dunk, which came on the back of a sensational dunk over 2.13m Idaho Stampede centre Will Foster for his Springfield side.

Recently listed on the D-League website as the 10th likeliest player to get called up by an NBA franchise, the 24-year-old has been highly rated for his scoring, distribution and rebounding. He has averaged 18.4 points per game, five rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Armor, who have climbed to second in the East Conference on the back of an eight-match unbeaten run.

The MVP of the All Star match, Gerald Green, was almost immediately picked up on a 10-day contract by the NBA's New Jersey Nets.

Smith, who played mostly shooting guard in college at Louisville, starred as a point guard for the Pistons under coach Dean Vickerman last year, was the third-ranked player in the NZ NBL Power Rankings at the end of the 2012 regular season, averaging 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.7 steals.

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