BOZICH | Peyton Siva, Russ Smith coaching each other
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – DraftExpress.com has Russ Smith going to the Charlotte Hornets with the 45th pick in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. The guys at CBSSports.com say Smith could go higher (42nd to Houston) or lower (48th to Milwaukee).
Coach Peyton Siva says keep all that mock draft junk as far away from Smith as you can hide it. Don’t search for it on the Internet. Don’t read it. And certainly don’t believe it.
“No general manager is going to tell anybody who they really want because they don’t want any other team to try to get them,” Siva said. “You have to keep that in mind.
“They do keep you in the dark. You really don’t find out until the day they pick you. I just told Russ to go out there and play hard. That’s all he can do and all he can control.”
“That’s a given, not paying attention to the mock drafts,” Smith said. “Peyton has been great. He’s also told me not to pay attention to who else is in the workouts with me. Don’t worry about the names. Just go out and compete.”
The two players who teamed up for one of the most successful backcourts in Louisville basketball history are as close today as they were when Louisville won the 2013 NCAA title at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Perhaps closer. A visit to the gymnasium at Louisville Collegiate School Tuesday confirmed that.
There were Siva and Smith, surrounded by 160 hyperactive elementary school kids, laughing and roaring just as much as anybody in the gym. They are hosting and directing a two-session, three-day instructional camp that ends Wednesday.
Then Smith must return to the same odyssey that Siva traveled a year ago – flying from city to city while working out for NBA teams, trying to convince one organization to select him as early as possible in the NBA Draft on June 26.
“Russ is like my brother,” Siva said. “I love Russ to death and he knows I’ll do anything for him.”
“Peyton is somebody who I started looking up to when I first got here,” Smith said. “He always had my back and had me going in the right direction and gave me the right ideas.”
Smith said Tuesday that he believes he has improved his standing with his first 11 workouts. He’s scheduled to visit the NBA champions in San Antonio this weekend and also has another workout with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Confidence has never been an issue for Smith. Despite what the mock drafts say, Smith said that he is optimistic he has played his way into the final five picks of the first round.
“He’s definitely not shy of anything,” Siva said. “He knows what to do. He’s an all-American, going down as one of U of L’s best guards.
“He knows what it takes to play basketball. He can play basketball whether it’s in the NBA or wherever it is. He knows how to score and play basketball.”
Siva’s career remains on a similar path of fighting for security. He split last season between the Detroit Pistons and the NBA Developmental League. The Pistons missed the playoffs and then changed coaches, hiring Stan Van Gundy.
Siva will report to Orlando, Fla., on June 30 for his second appearance in the NBA Summer League. Job one is to convince the Pistons to offer him a second guaranteed contract. If that does not happen, he needs to dazzle at least one other NBA team.
“I’m not worrying about it,” he said. “They’ve been telling me good things and to just go out there and have fun. It’s always big to play in front of those coaches and scouts.
“I’m going to go in there like I have two or three years left on my contract. Just be like these kids and have fun playing a game I love.”
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