Denny Crum was hired for his first Head Coaching position by the University of Louisville for the 1971-72 season. Six years later, in 1977, Darrell Griffith came to the school. Griff was the best player Denny ever had. Not only on the court, but Griff was a great ambassador then, and has continued to be a great ambassador to this day.
Hall of Fame, National Champion, Head Coach Rick, Jay Mother Fucking Bilas, Pitino has had so many good players in his illustrious career, but in the 30 years of being a head coach at the collegiate level, he has never had a player of Russ Smith's caliber. Has he had players go on to long NBA careers? Certainly. Who was the player who got the most hugs? Who was the player responsible for Fist Bumping Rick? Louisville Rick?
Personally, I find it incredible that as a fan, I have lived through these 2 fine young men playing at my Alma Mater. I cannot imagine what it is like for a coach, to have your career indelibly linked to such a great person, such a great player, a credit to the University, and a life long friend and adopted son.
I know we are not supposed to have favorite children, but Russ Smith has become my second favorite U of L basketball player. If 33 more years pass before another similar person plays for U of L, someone else will be writing about them. I will be long gone.