J.R. Smith travels to Kingwood

Clad in his white McDonald's All-American jersey, J.R. Smith leaned against the wall flashing his trademark smile. On one side was North Carolina assistant coach Steve Robinson and on the other was Tar Heels head man Roy Williams.

For the North Carolina staff, the Kingwood Classic wasn't just about trying to secure future signees. It was also about trying to keep those who already inked letters-of-intents.

Smith was in attendance with the Playaz Basketball Club, his former AAU team, and got a chance to talk at length with Williams and Robinson.

The world has basically been turned upside down for Smith of late as he has gone from a kid who was sure to head to Chapel Hill in just a few months to one who is leaning towards bypassing college and heading straight to the pros.

"I went in just hoping to win the dunk contest at the McDonald's Game and ended up losing to a girl," Smith said. "But I'll take the MVP over the dunk any day."

Smith admits that he wasn't really giving much credence to going to the NBA prior to the all-star games, but now he has a life-altering decision at his fingertips in the next two weeks. He said that Playaz Basketball Club boss Jimmy Salmon, along with St. Benedict's coach Dan Hurley and his parents, will also have an impact on his decision. Smith said that his mother wants him to go to college while his father would like him to go directly to the pros.

"I still want to go to school, but if the opportunity is there I will take it," Smith said. "I never thought I'd have this opportunity, but now I feel I have a legitimate chance and I've just got to weigh my options."

"I always wanted to go to North Carolina, but I've also always wanted to play in the NBA and the NBA is bigger," added Smith.

The magic number, according to Smith, is 15. That's where he'll have to be projected in order to bypass wearing Carolina blue.

Right now, according to one NBA general manager, the jury is still out on whether Smith has jumped that high.

"He's a ridiculous athlete," the NBA boss said. "Probably in the same class as Josh Smith, but I'm not sure if he's moved quite into the top 15 yet."


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