It may not come with the same hype or media attention as winning the Wooden or Naismith award, but Russ Smith is still somebody's player of the year.
It is my honor to announce that Louisville's Russ Smith is the winner of the 2013 kenpom.com Player of the Year award. Smith posted a 109 offensive rating while using a whopping 32 percent of Louisville's while he was on the floor. He also played a key role in the Cardinals' defense, which was rated the best in the land in adjusted defensive efficiency.
After looking at shot chart data from last offseason, it seemed like a reasonable conclusion that it would benefit Louisville if Smith shot less this season. Smith did shoot slightly less, but mainly he elevated the Cardinals by making more of his many two-point attempts, approaching the D-I average in shots within six feet (53.7% vs. the national average of 54.5%) and two-pointers outside of six feet (33.5%, exactly the national average). Overall, Russ raised his two-point accuracy from 37.9% last season to 45.8% this season.
Why wasn't Russ considered for any other national awards? This is a difficult question to answer. It's interesting that Russ Smith's offensive numbers are nearly identical to Evan Turner's 2010 season (109 ORtg/32% usage for Smith vs. 109/35% for Turner) Turner was consensus POY, while Russ couldn't make second team All-American. Two things that I think voters failed to consider were Russ's production at the free throw line and his low turnover rate.
Smith joins Michigan State's Draymond Green (2012) and Ohio Sate's Jared Sullinger (2011) as winners of Ken Pom's POY. Not exactly poor company.
He's also, in case you weren't aware, a national champion.