Former Louisville star Russ Smith was drafted a lot lower than he had hoped for on Thursday night. The 2014 consensus first team All-American was taken by the Philadelphia 76ers — who then traded him to the New Orleans Pelicans — with the 47th overall pick. Some players would be thrilled just to be drafted, but that was clearly not the case for Smith.
“I’m not really mad, I’m just more frustrated, as far as what do I have to do,” Smith told reporters, via WDRB’s Eric Crawford. “I don’t know what I have to do to gain the respect of the people I need to gain the respect from.
“They say we want a guard who’s 6-3 and 180 (pounds) or 6-2, 190, I can’t argue with that. That’s beyond my control. I can’t give you that. But what I can give you is wins beyond wins. I can give you — every time I’ve matched up against one of their highly touted guard I’ve come out victorious, not only this year, but last year and my sophomore year.”
Smith is undersized at 6-feet and 160 pounds. He was clearly annoyed that the Miami Heat traded to get Shabazz Napier with the No. 24 overall pick. Napier, 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, was 0-4 in his four career head-to-head matchups with Smith and Louisville. Napier scored 67 points in the four games and Smith scored 68. Smith shot 53% from the field, while Napier hit just 32% of his shots.