LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville announced it would retire All-American guard Russ Smith's No. 2 jersey at halftime of the Jan. 22 game against Notre Dame in the KFC Yum! Center.
Smith joins an elite group of four other Cardinals who've had their numbers retired in the men's basketball program. Smith joins No. 8 Charlie Tyra, No. 31 Wes Unseld, No. 35 Darrell Griffith and No. 42 Pervis Ellison. After this season, no one will wear the number two. Sophomore Sam Bearden has the number now.
Nicknamed "Russdiculous" by former UofL Coach Rick Pitino, Smith is the only Cardinal in history with at least 1,800 career points, 350 assists and 250 steals. He is UofL's all-time steals leader with 257, is fifth in career scoring with 1,908 points, second in career free throws made with 488 and is tied for ninth in career three-pointers with 180.
Smith acknowledged the honor on his Instagram page saying "#2 will be #5 for @louisvillembb."
The 6-0 guard from Brooklyn, New York was a part of the second-most successful four-year period in Cardinals' basketball history, helping Louisville win 121 games from 2010-14 (121-31, .796). He helped the Cardinals reach two NCAA Final Fours, two Big East Tournament Championships and one with the American Athletic Conference, two regular season co-conference titles (one Big East, one American), three straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearances and the 2013 national title (later vacated).
Smith was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft and was then traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. He played in the NBA for the Pelicans and the Memphis Grizzlies. Smith has also played professional basketball overseas in Turkey and China. He returned stateside and played in the G League for the Iowa Energy, Delaware 87ers and currently plays for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Following his collegiate career, Smith was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft with the 47th overall pick, and was subsequently traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. He played in the NBA with New Orleans and the Memphis Grizzlies, and has played professional basketball in Turkey and China, as well as with G League teams Iowa Energy, Delaware 87ers and Fort Wayne Mad Ants, where he is currently playing.
Smith now calls Louisville home and has immersed himself in one of the state's finest traditions, bourbon. In 2021, Smith debuted his new line called the Mr. & Mrs. Smith Bourbon Co. It is sold exclusively across Kentucky at Liquor Barn. Pitino even tweeted about his bottle.
UofL is offering a special 2-for$22 ticket special for the Jan. 22 game through Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. Fans can take advantage of the deal by visiting gocards.com/RUS2.