Sports

Rookie Pelicans Guard Russ Smith Has The World's Biggest Chip On His Shoulder

| by Jonathan Wolfe

We always hear professional sports draftees talk about how they should’ve been drafted higher than they were. Statements like “I feel like I’m the best player in this draft” and “I’m going to make every team that passed on me regret it” are pretty routine during post-draft interviews.

Lousiville guard Russ Smith shared similar sentiments after being drafted 47th overall last night, but he sounded especially pissed off doing it.

“I’m not really mad, I’m just more frustrated, as far as what do I have to do,” Smith said about his low draft position. “I don’t know what I have to do to gain the respect of the people I need to gain the respect from.”

At 6-0, 160 pounds, Smith is diminutive by NBA standards. But he thinks his stature prevented scouts from seeing his abilities on the court.

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“They say we want a guard who’s 6-3 and 180 (pounds) or 6-2, 190, I can’t argue with that,” he told WDRB. “That’s beyond my control. I can’t give you that. But what I can give you is wins beyond wins. I can give you — every time I’ve matched up against one of their highly touted guard I’ve come out victorious, not only this year, but last year and my sophomore year.”

Smith said he feels powerless after his strong pre-draft workouts had little impact on his draft position.

“When we got to five-on-five, I destroyed these workouts,” he said. “You want me to go by my man, I went by my man every time. You want me to make 60 percent of my shots, I made 60 percent of my shots. You want me to finish at the rim, I finish over the rim. You want me to get guys involved and assists, I get guys involved and get assists. You want me to defend and not let guys into the lane, I defend and don’t let them in the lane.

“What more do you want me to do? You want me to win? I won a national championship. I went to a Final Four. I won a Big East, a Big East and then I won an AAC championship. You say I don’t pass enough? I led my conference in assists per minute. I don’t understand what I have to do. But now I’m with a great organization and I am going — I am going to be successful, hands down. Hands down.”

Look out, NBA. Russ Smith is mad.