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Lawyers involved in case of Russ Smith’s lost championship jersey

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Russ Smith shipped his game-worn 2013 National Title jersey, which was framed and presented to him on senior night, to his father in Brooklyn. Due to a mishap on the FedEx’s part, that jersey is gone, possibly for good.

This occurred several weeks ago, gaining national attention once Smith voiced his frustrations in a string of tweets to his more than 36,000 Twitter followers. Smith was at the NBA Draft Combine last week, and is still in the process of conducting individual workouts as he gears up for next month’s draft. In the meantime, his father has continued to pursue the lost uniform, hiring lawyers, according to Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal.

“I’m so disappointed,” Russ Smith Sr. told the Courier-Journal. “I feel so bad for my son. I said, ‘You worked hard for this. And for it to just be thrown away, I can’t let that happen.’ I had to step up to the plate and get something done.”

Jonathan Blue, a member of the U of L Board of Trustees, has offered a $3,000 reward for anyone who can find and bring him the lost jersey.

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.

Russ Smith gives some tremendous and classy quotes following the loss to Kentucky

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Senior guard Russ Smith gave a good performance in his final game for Louisville on Friday night as Smith scored 23 points in the loss to rival Kentucky in the Sweet 16 of the Midwest Regional.

Smith even dunked on Julius Randle. Again.

But the senior also gave some fantastic extended quotes after the game and showed that he’s a true class act.

Smith also went into the Kentucky locker room after the loss to shake the hands of his opponents, according to multiple reports.

Clearly a classy gesture from a player who has tasted both victory and defeat during a tremendous four-year college career. The Louisville and Kentucky rivalry can be ugly at times — as can any rivalry — but this marks a great moment from a key player in the rivalry from the last few seasons.

(H/T: Eric Crawford of WDRB and Gregg Doyel of

POSTERIZED: Russ Smith dunks on Julius Randle … again (VIDEO)

Russ Smith
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Russ Smith checks in at a generous 6-foot, 165 pounds. Julius Randle, on the other hand, stands 6-foot-9, weighing 250 pounds. The Kentucky freshman forward absolutely dominates the Tale of the Tape, but Russ Freaking Smith has put him on the wrong end of the poster twice this season. Remember this?

Four finalists for 2014 Naismith Trophy announced

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Sunday afternoon the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the four finalists for the Naismith Trophy, which is given annually to the best player in college basketball. The finalists are Arizona junior guard Nick Johnson, Creighton senior forward Doug McDermott, Duke freshman forward Jabari Parker and Louisville senior guard Russ Smith.

Of the four finalists just one, McDermott, has been a finalist for the Naismith Trophy before with the Big East Player of the Year making the list in both 2012 and 2013. Fan votes will account for one-fourth of of the selection process, with voting opening up March 24 and continuing until April 5. The winner will be announced April 6 in Dallas.

McDermott and Johnson won Player of the Year awards in their respective conferences this season, and all four have made various All-America teams since the end of the regular season. McDermott, the favorite to win many of the major individual awards, is averaging 27.0 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest. Johnson, who helped lead Arizona to a Pac-12 regular season title and a one-seed in the NCAA tournament, has accounted for 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game for Sean Miller’s Wildcats.

Smith has been the leader for a Louisville team that is in the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season and won both the regular season (shared with Cincinnati) and tournament titles in the American Athletic Conference. Smith is averaging 18.1 points, 4.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game for the defending national champions. And Parker, the ACC’s Freshman of the Year, averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game for a Duke team that finished the season with a record of 26-9 (13-5 ACC).

No. 4 Louisville advances but will need more from Russ Smith next week

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With Midwest Region No. 4 seed Louisville and No. 5 seed Saint Louis being two of the best defensive teams in the NCAA tournament field, it was somewhat predictable that both teams would have a tough time scoring. That turned out to be the case for much of the afternoon, but a 15-4 second half Louisville run gave the defending national champions the separation they needed to beat the Billikens by the final score of 66-51.

Louisville finished the game shooting 44.6% from the field, with senior guard Luke Hancock’s 21 points leading four Cardinals in double figures. Hancock hit two of his four three-pointers during the decisive run, with Chris Jones (11 points) and Montrezl Harrell (ten points, 11 rebounds) also factoring into the equation.

Rick Pitino’s will make its third consecutive Sweet 16 as a result, with this being the second time in the Hall of Fame coaches’ storied career that he’s accomplished that feat (1995-97 at Kentucky). And a stat that should make Louisville fans feel even better with an eye towards next week in Indianapolis: Pitino has a record of 11-0 in Sweet 16 games.

But if the Cardinals are to make a run at another national title they’ll need more from senior guard Russ Smith, who struggled this weekend in Orlando.

Smith, averaging 18.3 points and 4.6 assists per game entering Saturday, scored 11 points on 3-for-10 shooting against Saint Louis’ tough man-to-man defense. Add in his showing against Manhattan and the All-American shot 6-for-19 from the field, a far cry from the 47.2% he’s shooting this season.

How much is the sore left thumb bothering Smith? The tape job proved to be a nuisance early, with Smith removing it during the first half of Saturday’s game. These next few days will give Smith some valuable time to recuperate, and whether the opponent is No. 1 Wichita State or No. 8 Kentucky the Cardinals will need their star guard to be at his best. And looking back on Smith’s games against Manhattan and Saint Louis, the shooting numbers aren’t the ones that would be a cause for concern looking forward.

In those two games Smith accounted for ten assists and 13 turnovers, breaking even of his assist-to-turnover ratio against the Billikens (seven assists, seven turnovers). Smith’s assist-to-turnover ratio this season: 1.7. Granted he went up against two good defensive teams, but that’s going to be the case throughout the remainder of the tournament.

Louisville took care of Saint Louis thanks to their defense, limiting SLU to 39.6% shooting and forcing 18 turnovers, with their offensive balance coming through in the second half. The goal this time of year is a simple one: survive and advance, and they managed to do so with Smith not playing his best basketball.