The New Orleans Pelicans Officially Sign Russ Smith

Joe Murphy

The New Orleans Pelicans announced Tuesday what Rick Pitino told us last week: the team has a guaranteed spot on their roster for Russ Smith.

Here's the franchise's official release:

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has signed guard Russ Smith. Per club policy, terms of the contract were not released.

Smith, the 47th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, was acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers on June 27, 2014. He recently completed his senior season at the University of Louisville, becoming the only player in program history with at least 1,800 points, 350 assists and 250 steals. Over the course of his career, the 6'0" guard led the Cardinals to two Big East Tournament titles, the American Athletic Conference Tournament title, two NCAA Final Fours and a school-record 35 wins in 2012-13 en route to the NCAA Championship.

In his senior campaign, the unanimous all-AAC first team member averaged 18.2 points, 4.6 assists and 2.0 steals on his way to being named a consensus All-American. He guided Louisville to the AAC Championship and garnered AAC Championship Most Outstanding Player honors by averaging 25.7 points, 3.7 assists and 2.7 steals in the tournament.

As a junior, Smith helped Louisville win an NCAA Championship and earned All-Big East First Team accolades with averages of 18.7 points, 2.9 assists and 2.1 steals. He averaged 22.3 points and 2.5 steals per game in the Cardinals' six NCAA Tournament contests.

Over the course of four seasons, Smith appeared in 133 games and averaged 14.3 points, 2.8 assists and 1.9 steals. He completed his career as the school's all-time steals leader (256) and finished second in free throws (488).

Smith has rewarded the Pelicans' faith early on, averaging 13.5 points and a Las Vegas Summer League-leading 6.5 assists per game after three summer league games.

Just another day in a life chock-full of proving people wrong.

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