Five-star 2016 prospect Dennis Smith Jr. tears ACL, out 6-9 months

Dennis Smith (adidas/Kelly Kline)
Five-star point guard Dennis Smith Jr. playing for Team Loaded in Las Vegas last month. (Adidas)

The No. 1 point guard in the elite high school class of 2016 is going to be on the shelves for a while. Dennis Smith Jr. had surgery last week to repair a torn left ACL and will miss the next 6-9 months of action, according to ESPN.

Dennis Smith Jr. … had successful surgery Friday to repair a torn left ACL, according to Smith’s father, Dennis Smith Sr.

Smith injured the knee while driving to the basket in the semifinals of the Adidas Nations event on Aug. 2. An MRI later revealed he needed surgery.

“Dennis had successful surgery on a very fixable problem,” said Dr. Claude T. Moorman III, Director of Sports Medicine and Head Team Physician at Duke, who performed the surgery. β€œHe now is in the early phase of his rehabilitation, and I expect a full recovery.”

Moorman is the doctor who also fixed No. 1 overall Class of 2016 prospect Harry Giles’ torn ACL last year, so it seems pretty clear that Smith will be in good hands.

I saw Smith live both in Las Vegas and at Adidas Nations this summer, and was the best high school point-guard prospect that I saw at either event. Here’s what I wrote about him following his performance with Team Loaded in Las Vegas.

Smith is a pure point guard prospect that has solid enough size to play the position in the NBA. He’s extremely quick with excellent ball-handling ability, able to navigate small, crowded spaces in the paint and make a variety of passes to either the corner or to crashing big men when he gets there.

He’s an awesome distributor whose best attribute is his feel in the pick-and-roll. All week, he and Bam Adebayo (who I’ll get momentarily) were nearly unstoppable in that situation, as Smith would basically direct him to exactly where the soft spot in the defense was, then pinpoint either a perfect pass to his outstretched arms or a beautiful little pocket pass to the 16-foot range for a jumper. With his quickness and smarts, it’s pretty easy to see how he could be successful in a league dominated with such situations.

He does need to improve his shooting from distance and his defense to get to the point where he could be an NBA starter, but Smith is pretty much exactly what you want from a floor general. He can break down defenses into the paint, score at the rim, make spectacular passes, and generally just lead your team. A guy that, again, has a wider range of outcomes due to his youth, but has a lot of upside due to what he already brings to the table. I like him a lot.

Smith is the No. 3 overall prospect in the country according to 247Sports.com’s composite ranking of recruiting services, and is considering six schools currently for what will likely be his one year of collegiate basketball: NC State, Kentucky, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Louisville and Duke. It would seem that NC State is in the lead for their services, according to CBSSports’ Matt Norlander, who chatted with him and his father during the Las Vegas recruiting period.

Hopefully Smith is able to come back and perform well at some point this season.

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