Russ Smith completed his 11th NBA Draft workout in Indianapolis Friday.
INDIANAPOLIS (WDRB) -- The selling of Russ Smith by Russ Smith accelerated Friday.
With team president Larry Bird and his sidekick Donnie Walsh watching, Smith impressed the Indiana Pacers’ management team the same way he impressed University of Louisville fans the last four seasons – with his energy, his enthusiasm, his creativity and his ability to make magical offensive plays.
One Pacers' official said that Smith, part of a six-man workout group that included former Indiana forward Will Sheehey, played solid basketball.
“The word is that he’s had good workouts all spring,” the official said. “Everybody knows he had a great workout in Los Angeles.”
“Change of pace, defensive principles, winning attitude on and off the court, carrying myself as a winner, scoring, some play-making,” Smith said. “I think I can do a little bit of everything.
“I just want to do what I can. I want to do whatever I can to win. I’ve always been that way. My production at school has shown that I’m able to win under any circumstance. That’s been my niche. I’ll try to stick with it.”
Smith believes what he has always believed – that he can play in the NBA, despite his size (slightly under 6 feet 1) and weight (160). Smith averaged better that 18 points each of the last two seasons, and he was selected the college basketball player of the year in 2013 and 2014 by Ken Pomeroy, whose web site measures advanced basketball metrics.
Yes, the choice by Pomeroy was Smith, not Doug McDermott of Creighton. Pomeroy's numbers value efficient play.
Although Smith said he thinks that he will be selected late in the first round or early in the second round of the NBA Draft on June 26, he said he was not certain which teams were serious about selecting him. The Pacers have the 57th pick in the second round.
DraftExpress.com projects that Smith will be selected 47th by the Philadelphia 76ers. At CBSSports.com, Gary Parrish says Denver will take Smith the the 41st pick.
But although the draft will unfold only blocks from where Smith grew up in Brooklyn, he is not ready to commit to attending the event at the Barclays Center in his home New York City borough.
After the workout with the Pacers, Smith said that he might plan his draft party in Louisville, the place that Smith said he will continue to call home – after he finally stops traveling.
“I don’t even have an address,” Smith said, with a laugh. “I’m on the streets. I’m on the Greyhound.”
Smith can worry about establishing a home base in two weeks. He’s completed 11 workouts – Indy, Boston, Toronto, Minnesota, Memphis, Dallas (with former Cardinal Chane Behanan), Miami, Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Phoenix and the Clippers.
At least three more have been scheduled by his agent, Mike Higgins. His next stop is San Antonio, where the Spurs expect to finish off the Miami Heat to win the NBA Title Sunday night.
Does Smith believe that he has helped himself during this odyssey?
“I think so,” he said. “I hope so. We’ll only know if I get that opportunity. My freshman and sophomore years I would have never thought I would be in this opportunity. So I’m happy for it.”
Sheehey, for the record, was considerably less forthcoming. He said he has worked out for five or six NBA teams but declined to name them.
He said that he was not certain if he would be selected (nearly every draft board says he will not be). Sheehey said that he was willing to follow the path of his former IU teammates Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls by playing overseas.
Sheehey said he will continue to train in the New York City area, where his agent, Marc Cornstein, is based. Smith will train wherever the next workout takes him.
“All these guys are great and we competed and that’s all you can ask for,” Smith said.