Russ Smith, the leading scorer for defending National Champion Louisville, has decided to return to school for his senior year, likely making the Cardinals the No. 2 ranked team headed into the 2013-2014 season. Kentucky, with a recruiting class that could be the BEST EVER, will be first.
If you remember back to the night Smith and Louisville beat Michigan, the shooting guard’s father was quick to tell anyone who would listen that his son was gone to the NBA. What was left for his son to accomplish? He’d won in the Big East, had success in the Big East Tournament, been to the Final Four twice, and he won a title. Why go back to school?
Reality must have set in for both Smith and his father – the market for sub-6-foot shooting guards in the NBA isn’t a large one, so why leave school early and risk not getting drafted? Why not just return to school, make a run at a repeat, and enjoy life as a college student? It is a good life.
Rick Pitino must be delighted. College basketball fans are excited, too, because Smith’s decision leads to yet another pretty loaded team for the 2013-2014 season (they were still a Top 5 team without him, though). And the stacked programs just happen to be marquee programs, too – Kentucky, Louisville, Duke, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan and Arizona should all linger in the Top 15 this season. All of those teams – plus Syracuse and Oklahoma State – will harbor Final Four hopes.
The deadline to declare for the NBA is April 28th, and on the 29th, I’ll put out our updated Top 25 for next season.
Related: 2013-2014 College Basketball Top 25. Kentucky, Louisville & Duke Are Loaded, Ohio State, Florida and Arizona Are As Well
Related: Michael Carter-Williams Might Be the Most Polarizing Player in the 2013 NBA Draft