Cardinal Basketball

Rick Pitino Says Russ Smith Is Unguardable

Photo | Getty Images

Photo | Getty Images

It’s very common to see college coaches talk up their former players prior to the NBA Draft. Not only is it a good look for coaches to send players to the next level, but these coaches love nothing more than seeing their former players succeed after their collegiate careers.

It should come as no surprise that Rick Pitino feels that his former All American guard is flying under the radar. However, Pitino didn’t wait until Russ Smith’s career ended to talk about how he thinks the New York City native could have a successful NBA career. He’s been doing it for the past two years.

During an interview with the Boston Globe earlier this week Pitino called Smith an “unguardable basketball player.”

“Russ is a very unique pick because Russ is an unguardable basketball player,”Pitino tells The Boston Globe.

“And although a lot of teams are not looking at him in the first (round), every coach I’ve seen at the ACC meetings, if you are a first-round draft choice and you are a guard and you’re at a workout camp and Russ Smith walks in, you’re telling your agent to get you the hell out of there. That’s the type of kid Russ is. If he comes walking through that door, you want to say immediately, ‘My hamstring’s bothering me.’”

Smith has worked out for multiple NBA teams, including the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trailblazers and the Phoenix Suns. He’ll workout with the Toronto Raptors today.

It may not be realistic to expect Smith to be taken in the first round, but I find it hard to believe that someone won’t take a chance on him early on in the second round.

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