Russ Smith Named A Finalist For The Senior CLASS Award

USA TODAY Sports

Russ Smith has been named of 10 finalists for the 2014 Senior CLASS award, given annually to Division-I seniors on the men's and women's side who "have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition."

Here's Smith's bio in each of the categories:

Classroom

Smith was honored with the 2012-13 BIG EAST Conference Scholar-Athlete Sports Excellence Award for men's basketball.  He received a 2013 Academic Momentum Award, as presented by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports and the Scholar Baller program, an honor which is based on the level of academic improvement.  Smith is working at a local television station in Louisville during the fall semester for his internship for part of his Communications major requirements.  He will be the first member of his family to earn a college degree when he completes it in the spring of 2014.

Character

Smith is the team co-captain for the defending national championship Cardinals and has emerged as a true team leader.  He battled through multiple injuries (broken foot, concussion, strained foot, sore knee) to play 17 games as a freshman before a strong work ethic over the summer helped him emerge as a sophomore and rank among the nation's top 20 in steals.  Smith dedicated his efforts in the 2103 Big East tournament to the memory of his high school coach who had passed away that week and was named to the all-tournament team.

Community

Smith has made multiple hospital visits to the local children's hospital in Louisville to brighten the day for young people.  He has read to elementary school classes to emphasize the importance of reading.  He is a visible member of the campus and city community, whether it is when he paints his body to support the Cards' soccer team or when the charismatic Smith takes the time at multiple events to sign autographs and pose for photos.

Competition

Louisville senior guard Russ Smith was named to the Associated Press preseason, five-man All-America team.  He was named to the US Basketball Writer's Association mid-season Oscar Robertson Trophy Watch List, John Wooden Award mid-season watch list and Naismith Trophy Watch List for national player of the year.  Smith is on the All-America first team by 2013-14 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook and graces the cover of the publication.  The preseason American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Smith is also a preseason first-team All-America selection by CBSSports.com.

Smith has scored in double figures in every game this season (18.1 ppg) for the 17-3, nationally-ranked Louisville Cardinals.  He needs four points to reach 1,600 in his career and has moved up to 15th in career scoring at Louisville with 1,596 points.  He has moved into the Louisville career top 10 in steals (221, fourth) and free throws made (415, sixth).  Smith is just the fifth Louisville player in history with at least 1,500 points and 200 steals.  In American Athletic Conference games, Smith leads the league in three-point field goal percentage (.613), three-pointers per game (2.7) and steals per game (2.4).  He has scored 20 or more points in 26 games over the last two seasons.

You can vote for Russ here.

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