Gorgui Dieng and Russ Smith will have the last word


Who to believe?

Russ Smith, who says he is undecided about whether he will enter the NBA draft? His dad who says Russ is gone?

Or Rick Pitino who says it is 50-50 whether Smith will return to play basketball at the University of Louisville next season?

Gorgui Dieng, who doesn’t seem at all to be infatuated by the NBA and its riches, and indicates that he is happy here?

Or Pitino who says that Gorgui will definitely leave?

What we do know is that Russ, even with all his quickness and assortment of shots, would be a small guard in the NBA and that the pros may be reluctant to take because of his unpredictability and decision making skills or lack thereof. That wild cross court pass that went flying out of bounds in the final minutes of the championship game could have cost UofL dearly, confirming that he still wasn’t all that dependable.

We also know that Gorgui, who all but disappeared in a couple of tournament games, has grown and matured more as a basketball player than perhaps any player in UofL history. If the NBA drafts on the basis of potential, there is no more obvious pick than Gorgui Dieng.

Gorgui could make it in the NBA, but he won’t be disappointed if not assured of being drafted. Russ will probably join some fellow teammates overseas if he his name isn’t called.

We suspect that Rick Pitino is preparing himself and fans for the loss of one or both of the players. He has been burned too many times, not wanting to be surprised and disappointed again. The return of one of both of them would be a boost to UofL’s chances of another run next season.

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Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.