When news first broke that Russ Smith was going to enter his name into the 2013 NBA Draft, I was appalled. Sure, Smith was the leading scorer for a team that just won the NCAA National Championship, but that is the last thing on the minds of NBA general managers. With his undersized frame and only a handful of starts at the point guard position working against him, Smith made the right move by sticking with the Louisville Cardinals.
Rick Pitino has seen a lot of big-league talent during his time as a college basketball coach and he still thinks Smith will have an enormous impact at the next level. In fact, Pitino said Smith “is going to be one of the most successful Louisville basketball players ever” when talking about the possible departure of the shooter. When I think of the erratic play of Smith I often think about NBA player Nate Robinson as they both share the instinct to jack up ill-advised shots at crucial points in the game.
Hopefully another year in the collegiate ranks gives Smith a better sense of direction as the six-foot guard must develop more ball handling skills if he hopes to see any action in the NBA.
I was the first one to bash Smith for allegedly forgoing his senior year, but now that those rumors have been shot down it will be interesting to see how he fairs as the main man with the Cardinals again next season Hopefully he can make the most out of it and become a complete ballplayer, because his one-dimensional act would earn him a late second-round pick at this point.