3:15 PM PT -- Smith finished his second round with a 7-over 78 ... which is a big improvement from the 83 he carded earlier in the day.
12:39 PM PT -- J.R. is getting better in the second round -- he's 3-over par through his first 10 holes.
Smith's former teammate, LeBron James, is showing support for his good friend ... saying, "HOW AMAZING IS THIS MAN!!! DAMN IM BEYOND PROUD OF MY BROTHER!"
J.R. Smith's officially a college golfer -- the 36-year-old made his debut at a tournament on Monday ... and it may not have gone the way he was hoping.
The ex-NBA star suited up for North Carolina A&T on the first day of the Elon Phoenix Invitational at the Alamance Country Club in Burlington, NC on Monday ... and he had a pretty solid start, hitting 2 birdies in his first 5 holes.
But, after making par on holes 10-14, Smith carded 7 bogeys and a double-bogey to finish out with an 81 (+7) ... just 6 spots above last place.