Men’s Basketball • 1984-88
Nicknamed the “Dunking Dutchman,” the Eindhoven, Holland native was both the tallest (7’4”) and most decorated player in NEC history. Smits was selected as the NEC Player of the Decade and 20th Anniversary Most Valuable Player, and was tabbed to the NEC 25th Anniversary All-Time team. He earned NEC Player of the Year honors after the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons and was a three-time first team all-league selection. Smits is one of just two competitors to win Player of the Year accolades twice (LIU’s Charles Jones is the other) and was the 1984-85 NEC Newcomer of the Year. Named an AP Honorable Mention All-American in 1988, he ranks sixth on the NEC all-time scoring list with 1,945 points and 15th on the rebounding chart with 811 boards. He led the NEC in blocked shots and field goal percentage three times in his career, and paced the Conference in scoring with 24.7 points per game in 1987-88. Smits established 25 school records at Marist and helped lead the Red Foxes to back-to-back NEC titles in 1986 and 1987. He was voted MVP of the 1986 NEC Tournament and was a three-time All-Tournament pick. In his final game in a Marist uniform, Smits scored a then school-record 45 points. While in Poughkeepsie, he represented Holland as a member of the Dutch National Team following his sophomore and junior seasons. Smits is one of three Marist men’s basketball players in school history to have his uniform number retired.
Following his collegiate career, Smits was tabbed by the Indiana Pacers as the second overall pick in the 1988 NBA draft. He played his entire 12-year career for the Pacers and was selected to the NBA All-Star team in 1998. Smits averaged 14.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, and retired as the Pacers’ all-time blocked shots leader with 1,111 rejections. He competed for the NBA Championship in 2000 when Indiana fell to Los Angeles, 4-2.