Clarifying J.R. Smith's academic status

J.R. Smith will suit up Wednesday night in Chicago for the Roundball Classic national all-star game. The high-rising wing from Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's is ranked the No. 1 shooting guard in the nation by <i></i>'s Dave Telep. However, his academic status has raised questions of whether he'll be able to enroll at North Carolina this fall.

Two weeks ago, Smith's mother told Inside Carolina that her son had received a qualifying SAT score. Tuesday afternoon, Smith's coach at St. Benedict's, former Seton Hall player/assistant coach Dan Hurley, confirmed the previous report and further clarified the situation.

"If he does what he's got to do for the rest of the year, he'll be fine," Hurley said. "He didn't do what he needed to his first three years of high school, so it's been real hard the last two years."

Basically, with the new sliding scale, if Smith gets sufficient grades for this marking period, his current SAT score would allow him to qualify. Smith will also take the SAT again just in case his grades come up short, so that he'd still be able to qualify.

"There's no way this kid isn't going to qualify," added Hurley. "Whether it happens in the middle of April or in the middle of June."

Smith led St. Benedicts to a 29-2 record while pouring in 23.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game this past season.

He will particpate in tomorrow night's Roundball Classic and the prestigious McDonald's All-American Game next Wednesday.

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