Sometimes you have to strike while the iron is hot.
In the case of star Louisville Cardinals guard Russ Smith, that means declaring for the 2013 NBA Draft after helping lead his team to its first national championship in 27 years.
His father, Russ Smith Sr., spoke to Sports Illustrated regarding his son’s decision.
“I told him, ‘Man, this is how you go out,’” Smith Sr. said. “All the people who doubted you since high school, you proved them wrong. You have back-to-back (Big East) championships, then you come back and win the national championship. All that hard work comes from working you out since you was three years old, running the beach, running the stairs, running with medicine balls, a boxing bag, it paid off.”
By ‘paid off’, what Senior is actually saying is ‘about to pay off’. Smith was one of the quickest guards and biggest scorers in college basketball in 2013. The 6-foot-1, 165-pounder averaged 18.7 points in 30.3 minutes per game in his junior season. He shot better than 41-percent from the field and also recorded 2.1 steals per contest while serving as one of the key components of coach Rick Pitino’s relentless full-court press defense.
Those numbers, combined with Smith’s wins and championships, is enough for his father to feel comfortable in Junior’s abilities at the next level.
“When you go out, you want to go out with a national championship,” Smith Sr. said. “He’s got five rings: back-to-back Big East, back-to-back Final Four, national championship. What other way to go out?”
We could not have said it better ourselves: What a way to go out.
*UPDATE* Russ Smith confirms his dad’s comments.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) April 9, 2013