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Report: Russ Smith to return to Louisville for senior year

Apr 23, 2013, 8:35 PM EDT

Louisville Cardinals NCAA Basketball Celebration Getty Images

There may be an early answer to Russ Smith’s decision on the NBA Draft.

Smith, who previously told the media he was hoping to make a decision on his NBA future on Wednesday, is returning to Louisville for his senior year, according to Louisville radio host and Cardinals’ play-by-play man Drew Deener. Smith was said to be going into the draft by his father shortly after the national title game, but has been undecided recently.

If he does return, Smith would be the key piece returning for Louisville in their attempt at back-to-back national championships. As a junior, Smith averaged 18.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists last season, leading Louisville in scoring.

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

Deener tweeted this out to the masses on Tuesday evening.

Smith hasn’t really been shown to be a first rounder in most NBA mock drafts and it may benefit him to come back for his final year for a lot of reasons, namely, ones that Deener’s sources told him.

If Smith does return, that would bring back all but two players off this season’s team for Louisville, with the graduation of guard Peyton Siva and center Gorgui Dieng leaving early for the NBA Draft. Guard Mike Marra was listed on the roster, but suffered his second torn ACL as a Cardinal prior to the season and is unlikely to play again for Louisville. Forward Stephan Van Treese is also listed as a senior, but sat out most of the 2011-12 season with a knee injury as was expected to earn another year of eligibility.

UPDATE

CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman spoke with Louisville coach Rick Pitino on Tuesday evening, who maintains that Smith is undecided on his decision just yet.

 

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

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