Pelicans announce signing of Russ Smith

Advocate staff photo by SUSAN BROADBRIDGE -- Rookie, Russ Smith practices at the Pelicans practice facility in Metairie.
Advocate staff photo by SUSAN BROADBRIDGE -- Rookie, Russ Smith practices at the Pelicans practice facility in Metairie.

The Pelicans on Tuesday announced the signing of guard Russ Smith, the 47th pick in last month’s draft.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a league source says the contract is for two years with a team option for a third year.

Smith, originally selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with that pick, but was dealt to the Pelicans through a trade.

Smith, a four-year player at Louisville, was the only player in program history with at least 1,800 points, 350 assists and 250 steals. Over the course of his career, the 6’0” guard led the Cardinals to two Big East tournament titles, the American Athletic Conference tournament title, two NCAA Final Fours and a school-record 35 wins in 2012-13 en route to the NCAA Championship in 2013.

As a senior, the unanimous All-AAC first team member averaged 18.2 points, 4.6 assists and 2.0 steals on his way to being named a consensus All-American. He guided Louisville to the AAC Championship and garnered AAC Championship Most Outstanding Player honors by averaging 25.7 points, 3.7 assists and 2.7 steals in the tournament.

As a junior, Smith helped Louisville win an NCAA Championship and earned All-Big East first-team accolades with averages of 18.7 points, 2.9 assists and 2.1 steals. He averaged 22.3 points and 2.5 steals per game in the Cardinals’ six NCAA Tournament contests.

Over the course of four seasons, Smith appeared in 133 games and averaged 14.3 points, 2.8 assists and 1.9 steals. He completed his career as the school’s all-time steals leader (256) and finished second in free throws (488).

(Advocate contributor Darrell Williams contributed this story.)