No Louisville Cardinal has been named a postseason first team AP All-American since Clifford Rozier achieved the feat back in 1994. That drought could end in a very short amount of time if the Associated Press recognizes Russ Smith as one of the nation's five best players.
In the meantime, the All-American honors are beginning to pour in for Smith from other national outlets, including NBC and the Sporting News, both of whom named Russ to their first team on Monday.
First from the Sporting News:
Russ Smith, 6-0 senior guard, Louisville
Stats: 17.5 points, 4.8 assists,39.4 percent 3-point shooting
From perhaps the humblest beginnings of any NCAA champion/first-team All-American, Smith developed into a player whose own nickname no longer fit. Russdiculous? That's certainly unique, but Smith has advanced to the point where he now plays solid, winning basketball and rarely is guilty of the brain-freeze moments that led to coach Rick Pitino assigning that label. Smith returned to Louisville after the 2013 Cardinals won the national championship with an eye toward completing a spectacular college career and demonstrating he can function as an effective playmaker. The guy who once made silly decisions a regular routine passed for 13 assists in the final game against Connecticut and 16 times had five or more. He still could rip up the nets, as well, such as hitting 6-of-6 on 3-pointers against SMU and 10 total games of 20 or more points.
And from NBC:
Russ Smith, Louisville (17.5 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.5 rpg, 2.0 spg, 39.4% 3PT): The key to Louisville's season has been Smith's ability to embrace being a point guard isn't of simply being Russdiculous. It should tell you something that, on his Senior Night and just three days after exploding for 22 second half points and six threes in eight minutes in a come-from-behind win at SMU, Smith finished with 13 assists and just two shots from the floor.
Well-deserved to say the least.