The Louisville basketball coaching staff was trying to scout JJ Moore, an eventual Pitt commissioner, in 2009 when they encountered a six-foot, 160-pound scoring guard. His name was Russ Smith, he was a three-star prospect, and he went on to become one of the most exciting players in U of L history, impressing fans from 2010 to 2014.
Today, at halftime of Louisville’s 4 p.m. game against Notre Dame, Smith’s jersey number will be disabled.
Here’s a look at Smith, by the numbers:
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7 games started during the first 2 years in Louisville
Number of games started by Smith during his first two years in Louisville. He played sparingly as a freshman, made a major contribution to the bench as a sophomore—11.5 points per game—then exploded as a junior and senior, averaging better than 18 points per game and becoming one of the top players in college basketball.
9 minutes played in the 2011 game vs. West Virginia
Minutes played by Smith in a January 26, 2011 game against West Virginia. Smith, then a freshman, has said he was frustrated with injuries and lack of playing time and was willing to switch after that game, but he made a comeback in that game, U of L won and Smith decided to stay.
Steals counted by Smith during his career, a record in Louisville. He averaged better than 2 steals per game during each of his last three seasons.
488 free throws
Free throws made during his career, second in school history. He posted a 76.0% clip at U of L.
1,908 career points
Career points scored, the fifth best mark ever by a cardinal.
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47 NBA squad
Smith was selected as number 47 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft after a season as a consensus All-American. He played 27 NBA career games and has since played abroad and in the NBA’s G-League (formerly called the D-League).
65 points in NBA D-League in 2016
Points scored by Russ Smith in a 2016 NBA D-League game, a record. He went 24-of-42 off the field, breaking the record of 61 points set by Jordan McRae just two months earlier; to this day, Smith’s record still stands.
5 numbers retired by U or L men’s basketball
Numbers retired by Louisville men’s basketball. Charlie Tyra (8), Wes Unseld (31), Darrell Griffith (35) and Pervis Ellison (41) are the others.
2 – his back number
Smith’s jersey number. Quentin Snider, Darius Perry and, this season, walk-on forward Sam Bearden have worn the No. 2 in the years since Smith, but as of next year no cardinal will.
Hayes Gardner can be reached at email@example.com; Twitter: @HayesGardner.