If you live in Indiana, you are probably a basketball fan. And as a result you will know who the "Dunking Dutchman" is. If you have seen him on the Marist College or Indiana Pacers basketball courts you will remember him. He was hard to miss as a 7 feet, 4 inch player. He was a physical giant, a tall man among other tall but slightly smaller players. In the mid and late 1990's he was considered the Pacers' number two player behind only the famed Reggie Miller. During his entire thirteen year professional basketball career, he only played for the Indiana Pacers NBA basketball team.
In 1988 Smits was the second overall NBA draft pick and was drafted by the Indiana Pacers. He had spent his college years at Marist College where he averaged 18.2 points per game during his entire college career. However, during his senior year he averaged 24.7 points per game. Following his sophomore and junior years he played for the Dutch National Team during the summer breaks.
In his rookie year on the Indiana Pacers team he started out as a backup to Steve Stipanovitch. Early in that season Stipanovitch suffered a freak injury ending his playing career. Smits moved into his position and started the remaining 71 games averaging 11.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. That year he earned All Rookie First team honors.
During his entire 13 year professional career he averaged double digits points per game, ranging from 10.9 points per game in the 1990-1991 season to 18.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in the 1995-1996 season. He was a first-time All Star pick in 1998 after 10 years in the league. Prior to the 1999-2000 season Indiana re-signed Smits to a two year deal worth $20.5 million. He only played for one more year, the 1999-2000 season, following which he retired. Foot problems which had plagued him during his entire playing career contributed to his early departure.
During Smits' professional career the Pacers were a talented team, were successful and as a result usually made the playoffs. Smits participated in 104 playoff games, averaging 14.8 points per game and spending an average of 16.4 minutes on the court. During the playoffs the Pacers fans loved him for his outstanding playoff performances.
Some of his record career performances include 44 points against the L.A. Clippers, 20 field goals also against the L.A. Clippers, 15 free throws against the Detroit Pistons, 17 rebounds against Philadelphia, 8 assists against Dallas, and 46 minutes of playing time against New Jersey.
During his entire professional career he played in 867 games, including 104 playoff games, spent 23,100 minutes [385 hours] on the court, accumulated 12,918 points and 5289 rebounds.
Smits was born in Eindhoven, the Netherlands on August 23, 1966. He is married to his wife Candice. They have a daughter Jasmine, and a son Derrick. His hobbies include collecting Roadrunner cartoon memorabilia, and collecting and rebuilding antique automobiles.
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FIFTEEN PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE VAN BURENS, KOCH BROTHERS, VOORHEES AND OTHERS, 2015
PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS IN U.S. GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, 2015
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ALLIED EUROPE CAMPAIGN—1944/1945: TACTICAL MISTAKES, 2017
THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE NETHERLANDS: MEMOIRS, 2017
FRENCH REVOLUTION, NAPOLEON AND RUSSIAN WAR OF 1812, 2015