Russ Smith has one year of eligibility remaining, but he has opted to forego that and enter himself into the NBA draft. Well, to be clear – that is what his dad told Sports Illustrated. It is expected that Russ will formally make the announcement himself sometime next week to make it official.
His statistical live over his three years are as follows:
Freshman: 2.2 points/g, 0.4 rebounds/g, 0.8 assists/g, 0.8 steals/g, .341 FG%, .600 FT%, 5.6 min/g
Sophomore: 11.5 points/g, 2.5 rebounds/g, 1.9 assists/g, 2.2 steals/g, .356 FG%, .764 FT%, 21.5 min/g
Junior: 18.7 points/g, 3.3 rebounds/g, 2.9 assists/g, 2.1 steals/g, .414 FG%, .804 FT%, 30.3 min/g
As you can see he steadily improved in every category each and every year going from a bench player to one of the most electrifying players in college basketball.
Smith capped his final season at Louisville with a Big East regular season and tournament championship, first team all-Big East honors, and a national championship.
Not a bad way to go out – on top.
Now the focus turns to Russ becoming a pro. Of all the mock drafts that I’ve perused I haven’t seen him being taken in the first round. But that doesn’t mean he won’t and it definitely does not mean he won’t have a successful career in the NBA.
Scoring, in every shape and form, is a gift of Smith’s. He’s fearless when penetrating the lane and there isn’t shot he doesn’t like (for better or for worse depending on the situation). However, some may say his size will hold him back. Standing at exactly 6-foot (that’s his generous program height; he looks an inch or two shorter on the court) and only 165 pounds, he could find it difficult slashing to the basket like he did so well at the college level. But his speed, shiftiness and ability to contort his body in the air and finish in all sorts of ways suggests he is capable. Would you agree?
Russ Smith got the nickname ‘Russdiculous’ due to his unpredictable nature and sometimes boneheaded plays (I’ll never forget him chucking up half-court and longer shots with five or more seconds on the clock because he was unaware of the time; good times), but he finished with a very successful career and played a big part in bringing the national championship to Louisville by averaging 25 points per game in the NCAA tournament.
College basketball will miss him, but I hope he continues to bring us Russdiculous moments in the NBA. Good luck, Russ, and congrats on a stellar career as a Cardinal.