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Suns’ Jalen Smith shares origin of Stix nickname, disciplined background

(Twitter photo/@Suns)

It isn’t going to take Phoenix Suns fans long to get to know Jalen Smith as a player.

The No. 10 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft makes himself known on the court often, whether it’s as a presence on the glass, blocking shots, finishing around the rim or spacing the floor as a three-point shooter.

He will have his fair share of highlights early in his career, and those skills plus his energy should see him immediately translate as someone who can help Phoenix off the bench right away.

But as far as the person goes, Smith told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta what he’s all about.

As the son of a retired naval officer, it’s no surprise that Smith was a prospect touted for his character and work ethic.

“I grew up with a whole lot of discipline,” he said. “A lot more than most people can manage.”

Smith expanded on what exactly was expected out of him.

“Everything has to be a certain way, pretty much everything has to be perfect,” he said. “You have to be perfect. And no matter what you just gotta continue to carry yourself the right way and just always perfect everything, and that’s just how I was raised with my father.”

The 20-year-old isn’t afraid to admit his habits at a young age were lacking, and that it wasn’t going to last for long.

“I was a lazy kid growing up and my father really hates lazy people, so it didn’t really work out much,” he said.

“It helped me become more responsible for myself.”

At a wiry 6-foot-10 with long arms, Smith’s nickname of Stix is fitting. He provided the origin story.

“I got the nickname from my first AAU team. The coach was giving nicknames to everybody based off how he perceives them, and I was the skinniest person, so he gave me Stix,” he said.

“Sitx is the one that always stuck and it’s what people know me by.”

Smith got into Phoenix on Monday night and officially signed his contract Tuesday, the last bit of certification required before his NBA journey truly begins.

“Pretty much every time I wake up it’s just that idea like, ‘Wow, I’m finally living out my dreams and getting to play with people I looked up to,'” he said.

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