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Rik Smits - The Dunkin Dutchman

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Uploaded on Feb 28, 2008

Rik Smits (born August 23, 1966 in Eindhoven, Netherlands) is a Dutch-American retired professional basketball player who spent his entire career with the Indiana Pacers. The 7'4" (2.24 m) center was drafted by the Pacers out of Marist College with the second overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft.

Originally he backed up Steve Stipanovich, but when Stipanovich suffered a terrible injury that ended his career, Smits ended up starting 71 games in his rookie year, averaging 11.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and earning All-Rookie First Team honors. Smits continued to average double-digit point totals in every year of his career, but it wasn't until 1993-1994 that Smits really came into his own as a team leader.

Smits' highest point-per-game average was in 1995-96 when he averaged 18.5 points per game, relatively modest by NBA "superstar" standards, but the Dutchman endeared himself to Pacers fans with outstanding playoff performances.

Smits is best remembered for a catch-and-shoot situation in the fourth game of the 1995 playoffs against the Orlando Magic. With 1.3 seconds left, Derrick McKey inbounded the ball to Smits. He faked a shot off Tree Rollins and released the ball as time expired. The shot went in, and the Pacers tied the series at two games apiece.

Smits was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team in 1998, delivering 10 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, including a spectacular behind-the-back pass to New Jersey Nets forward Jayson Williams who followed immediately with a slam dunk.

Rik Smits was selected to the Pacers' 40th Anniversary Team, which was chosen by the fans. He ended up with the fourth most votes, trailing only Reggie Miller, Mel Daniels and Jermaine O'Neal.

Smits is still active on the court, often seen playing pick-up and recreational league games at a local gymnasium near his home in Zionsville, Indiana.

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