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FedEx lost Russ Smith’s 2013 national championship jersey

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Russ Smith’s stay in Louisville has come to a close following his graduation on Saturday. The projected second round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft wanted to make sure his father, who is back at home in Brooklyn, held on to one of his prized possessions from his career with the Cardinals: the jersey he wore in the 2013 National Title game.

However, due to a mishap on the part of FedEx, that jersey is gone.

According to WHAS11, the jersey, which was framed and presented to Smith on senior night, made it to New York, though, when it arrived the frame and glass had been cracked. FexEx agreed to pay for the damages, asking for the entire package to be sent back. Upon its return, the package had been thrown away by the shipping company due to safety concerns.

Smith voiced his frustrations through his Twitter account in a string of tweets:

Erin Truxal, the public relations and crisis communications manager for FedEx, issued this statement regarding the incident.:

“We are working closely with security to further investigate this matter. The damaged merchandise was marked to discard since, for safety precautions, our employees are trained not to open packages with broken glass. We sincerely apologize to Mr. Smith for his recent experience. We are working directly with Mr. Smith on this matter.”

The cherished jersey is priceless to Smith, a symbol of his accomplishments with the Cards, but the uniform does have a price tag on it. Jonathan Blue, a member of the U of L Board of Trustees, said he will give a $3,000 reward to anyone who can find the missing jersey and deliver it to his office.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.