Russ Smith saw his senior season come to an abrupt end on Friday night as Louisville lost to Kentucky in the Sweet 16. The eighth-seeded Wildcats gave the Cardinals all they could handle, and free throw shooting and offensive rebounding prevailed down the stretch. Smith was all class after his final collegiate game.
Like Coach K did when Duke fell to Mercer in stunning fashion, Smith reportedly visited the Kentucky locker room to congratulate the Wildcats on advancing.
I'm told U of L's Russ Smith came to locker room after game and congratulated UK players.
— Jerry Tipton (@JerryTipton) March 29, 2014
As you know, Louisville and Kentucky are fierce rivals. They are two perennial powerhouse programs from the same state, similar to Duke and UNC. Despite that, Smith doesn’t seem to hold any ill will toward the Wildcats.
“It’s tough to go out to your rival,” he told reporters after the game. “But if there’s any team I’d want to (lose) to, I wouldn’t mind going out to these guys. It’s an in-state team. Those guys play hard. I respect everything about their program.”
Smith was then asked if it stings worse losing to Kentucky.
“Not at all. Not at all,” he said. “If it stung then I would have something against their program. I don’t get into the rivalries.”
Of course, Smith won a national championship a year ago. Winning multiple championships in college is not impossible, but it certainly isn’t probable. He has every right to feel proud of the way his collegiate career ended.Google+