North Carolina State guard Terquavion Smith, a projected first-round pick, is withdrawing from the NBA draft and returning to school for his sophomore season, he told ESPN.
“I’ve decided to play next season for NC State, the first team to offer me a scholarship,” Smith said via text message. “I owe so much to Todd Ramasar, the agent who guided me through this process; Ross McMains, the incredible coach who prepared me so well for everything I just went through, and the team from Life Sports Agency. The past month has been an eye opener in so many ways. Todd, Ross and their team have helped put me on the NBA map.”
Smith, the No. 22 ESPN 100 prospect, had a strong NBA draft performance that propelled him firmly into consideration as a first-round pick, several NBA executives told ESPN. He was one of the standouts in the drills on day one of the combine, then scored 17 points in a scrum on day two, before retiring from the rest of the event. Still, Smith says just being a first-round pick wasn’t enough to keep him in the draft, and he hopes to aim higher next year.
“I have to be honest and admit that money was never in my mind,” he said. “My agent explained to me that teams as high as my late teens, for the rest of the first round, all rated me as a first-round talent. It’s exciting to hear that. But I told him I had more work to do. I love school and my college in particular. Remember, my last two years have been so weird, thanks to the pandemic. I just want one more season to do everything right and just be a student.
A late bloomer physically, Smith was not considered a major prospect coming out of Farmville (North Carolina) Central High School, despite winning three straight state championships. He received offers only from High Point and Eastern Carolina before committing to NC State.
He was named to the ACC All-Rookie Team and received an All-Conference Honorable Mention after averaging 16.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the Wolfpack, finishing second all-time conference scorer in the ACC. His 96 3-pointers led the ACC and ranked fourth-highest totals in ACC history for a freshman.
“If things go as planned, I won’t have to go through the combine experience the same way,” Smith said. “Everyone will see my games and our team all season, we’re going to make sure they see something special. The NBA can wait a year, I have more work to do in the ACC first. “
Smith’s return is a major boon for an NC State team that finished 11-21 and ranked last in the ACC last season. The Wolfpack have already lost a few key pieces this offseason, including Jericole Hellems, Cam Hayes and Manny Bates. They’re awaiting another big decision on top scorer and projected second-round pick Dereon Seabron, who is currently testing the waters in the NBA Draft. Head coach Kevin Keatts has been aggressive in the NCAA transfer portal, adding commitments from DJ Burns from Winthrop, Jarkel Joiner from Mississippi, Jack Clark from LaSalle and Dusan Mahorcic from Utah.