UofL retires Russ Smith’s #2

UofL retires Russ Smith's #2
UofL retires Russ Smith's #2(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Jan. 22, 2022 at 6:08 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - At halftime of UofL’s 82-70 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday, the #2 of Russ Smith was retired.

Smith stood at half court with his family as the black curtain came down to unveil his banner, hanging alongside those of Charlie Tyra (#8), Wes Unseld (#31), Darrell Griffith (#35) and Pervis Ellison (#43).

“When you look up and see 2, you see a kid who had no schools, no scholarships, undersized and you know I went in here and made it happen, and you know, that’s gonna be the story of 2,” Smith said.

He got emotional, standing at midcourt with his family, including his grandmother.

“A lot of emotions. I never thought coming here, that wasn’t something I had in my books that I was gonna do,” Smith added. “As you imagine, my family being here meant the world to me. I feel like at 30 years old to get my jersey retired in front of my family, where you know, it normally takes decades for that to happen and not much of your family is either around or busy enough, when they are able to be here and see that. That was very important to me.”

Among the video tributes that played on the video board at the KFC Yum! Center was a message from former UofL head coach Rick Pitino.

Smith’s dad, Russ Sr., got a roaring ovation at the end of the celebration when he told the crowd, “We need that 2013 Champion banner.”

Russ Smith is the fifth all-time leading scorer in UofL history with 1,908 career points from 2010-14 and the school’s all-time career leader in steal with 257.

He was a two-time All-American and a starter on the 2012 Final Four team and the 2013 National Champs.

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