Russ Smith, the tiny two-star recruit no one thought would make it four years at Louisville, is a first team preseason AP All-American.
Smith is the first Cardinal to be named a preseason first team All-American since the very first year the distinction existed (1986-87), when Pervis Ellison achieved the same feat. He's also the first U of L first teamer in any capacity since Clifford Rozier earned the honor at the end of the 1993-94 season.
Oklahoma State sophomore guard Marcus Smart is the only unanimous selection to the AP's first team, while Creighton senior forward Doug McDermott was named on all but two of the 65 ballots. Smith, Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins and Michigan sophomore Mitch McGary made up the rest of the first team.
Smart, the reigning Big 12 player and freshman of the year, averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.0 steals last season. McDermott averaged 23.2 points and 7.7 rebounds last season and was named Missouri Valley Conference player of the year.
Smith, who received 52 votes, averaged 18.7 points and 2.9 assists in helping the Cardinals win the national championship. Wiggins, only the second freshman to earn preseason honors (joining North Carolina's Harrison Barnes), averaged 23.4 points and 11.2 rebounds as a high school senior. He was on 42 ballots.
McGary, who averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds to help the Wolverines reach the NCAA title game, got 34 votes.
Congratulations to Russ on this terrific honor.