2016 NBA Champion JR Smith made his collegiate golf debut this month, but things didn't entirely go the way that he'd hoped. Representing North Carolina A&T University, Smith joined his teammates at Elon University's Phoenix Invitational. After three rounds, Smith scored 29 over 240 to finish 81st out of 84 players in the Phoenix Invitational. As a team, the Aggies finished 11 out of 13 participating schools.
Making matters worse, Smith endured an environmental challenges. While on the third hole at Alamance Country Club, Smith suffered a hornet sting.
"To get stung on the basketball court or in an arena, never happens," Smith said.
"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.'"
Despite the poor finish and bee sting, Smith is excited about the future and determined to improve his game. Following his first tournament, the 2016 NBA Champion talked to Phoenix Suns Point Guard Chris Paul about his performance. Paul told Smith that members of the Suns were talking about him in the locker room and tracking the tournament.
"I got a lot of great feedback," Smith told ESPN.
"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."
Beyond his individual performance, Smith was able to have an impact off of the golf course. Several players approached Smith and asked to take a picture with him.
"He has made golf cool for people," Mason Whatley of Presbyterian told ESPN.
Next week, the Aggies will participate in the UNCG Grandover Collegiate at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.