Ex-NBA star JR Smith stung by hornets, high scores during first collegiate golf tournament

BURLINGTON, N.C. — JR Smith stepped right into a hornets nest in his first school golf tournament, and it had nothing to do along with his high rating.

The 36-year-old two-time NBA champion was actually stung by hornets whereas finishing his spherical Tuesday for North Carolina A&T on the second day of Elon’s Phoenix Invitational.

“To get stung on the basketball court or in an arena, never happens,” stated Smith, now a freshman walk-on. “That’s one of the very few things you don’t have to worry about [in basketball] — other animals. When I got stung, I was like ‘No way.'”

The hornets simply added to the sting of Smith’s birdie-less spherical of 8-over-par 79 on the Donald Ross-designed structure. Combined along with his two rounds Monday, he completed at 29 over 240 — in 81st place out 84 entries.

Smith stated he is decided to enhance as a result of he is aware of others are paying consideration. He communicated with Suns guard Chris Paul after Monday’s two rounds and heard from ex-NBA teammates as a part of a bunch textual content.

“I got a lot of great feedback,” Smith stated. “Chris Paul was telling me guys were talking about it in the locker room. Guys are really looking for my scores, so I got to take care of business so when I see them it ain’t going to be too much backlash.”

Still, he made an affect on the occasion. Well after the spherical, taking part in associate Mason Whatley of Presbyterian went to have {a photograph} with Smith.

“He has made golf cool for people,” Whatley stated.

When the hornets attacked, being an envoy for the sport was not Smith’s prime precedence.

It occurred on his third gap of the third spherical at Alamance Country Club. His tee shot went off the green and have become embedded in pine straw. He discovered the ball, however his pull cart’s wheel rolled over the the nest.

Smith darted away from that space, waving his arms, earlier than needing remedy. Smith, together with taking part in companions Florian Blatti of George Washington and Whatley, had been granted a 15-minute break as different teams performed via.

“I tried to turn it into a positive,” Smith stated, referring to suiting up whereas sick within the NBA. “This might be your equivalent of a flu game.”

Smith had the sixth-best rating out of six gamers on his crew. The Aggies completed eleventh within the 13-team discipline, 57 pictures off the tempo set by tournament champion Elon.

Smith performed 16 years within the NBA, profitable championships with Cleveland in 2016 and with the Los Angeles Lakers final yr within the Florida pandemic bubble. The Lakers’ title-clinching win got here precisely one yr earlier than his debut as an Aggies golfer.

Smith stated he has a spherical tentatively arrange subsequent week with not too long ago retired North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams. Smith was initially set to play basketball for Williams’ Tar Heels earlier than going leaping straight to the NBA in 2004.

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