Throwback: A Q&A with Russ Smith

By David Cordova

Preface

This interview with former Louisville guard and Brooklyn native Russ Smith was featured in the summer of 2015 on Gotham Hoops.

Russ Smith Basketball Camp

By David Cordova

When a player makes the NBA, one of the things they vow to do is give back to the community. Sometimes, it may be as far as establishing a basketball camp in the same places in which they honed their skills as youths. That was the deal for Russ Smith.

The Memphis Grizzlies guard, going into his second season in the NBA, hosted a basketball camp this past weekend at the Gauchos Gym in the Bronx, NY, the home of the famed New York Gauchos AAU program of which he was a part of for many years.

Smith played high school basketball at the prestigious Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens for the late, great Jack Curran from 2005-09. He led the CHSAA in scoring in his junior and senior year of high school. Smith then did a postgraduate year at South Kent School, a national prep powerhouse based in South Kent, Connecticut and graduated in 2010.

He then went on to the University of Louisville, where he played for four years, and was also a part of the 2012-13 national championship team. By the time he left Louisville, he finished his career in the fifth on the school’s all-time career scoring list with 1,908 points, and is one of four players in Louisville history to be named a two-time All-American. The other three were Charlie Tyram, Darrell Griffith and Wes Unseld. 

Smith was then drafted in the second round of the 2014 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and was then traded to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The camp was nothing short of spectacular as the kids received instruction on ball-handling skills and many other facets of the game from Russ Smith, Sr. A lot of the kids on hand learned some great skills from a professional that may help them improve their skills for the future. It was also an experience that a lot of them will cherish for a lifetime. After all, it isn’t every day that a kid can say that they worked out with an NBA player.

Here’s the Q & A with Russ Smith:

When did you start playing basketball?

When I was 3-4 years old.

When did you start taking the game of basketball serious?

In high school, when I went to Molloy. I started to be more competitive, working out more. After that, things just opened up for me.

What made you want to bring your own camp to the very place that you grew up in?

My dad works here and he played here. It’s a very convenient place to run a camp, since I played here as a youth.

How does it feel to be an NBA player?

It feels good because not too many people thought I’d make it. Now that I’m here, I’m here to stay.

Are you content with where you are at now or do you intend to keep striving for more?

I plan to strive for more. I still got things to accomplish. There’s always room for growth.

What are your goals for the upcoming season with the Memphis Grizzlies?

To win as many games as possible and earn minutes on the floor.

What’s next in the future for Russ Smith?

To keep getting better as a person, player and floor general.

Prologue

In the 2015-16 season, Smith averaged 1.5 points in 15 games for the Grizzlies before being waived on December 29th. His next move would prove to be a revelation, because on January 13th, he was acquired by the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League, which is also an affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA. He made the most of his opportunity with the 87ers, averaging 28.1 points, 8.1 assists and 5 rebounds per game, and had a career-high 65 points on March 23rd in a loss to the Canton Charge. He was once again waived on March 29th. Smith now plays for the Galatasaray Odeabak of the Turkish Basketball League. 

Highlights of Russ Smith:

Courtesy of High School Sports Media.

Courtesy of the University of Louisville.

Courtesy of Hoop Mixtape.

Courtesy of The Louisville Show.

Courtesy of NBA D-League.

Courtesy of GD Factory Clips.

Courtesy of NBA D-League.

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