Who is Russ Smith? Everything About Him

Russ Smith, aka Russdiculous, is a popular American professional basketball player who is known for his wild and reckless playstyle. 

Since being drafted in the second round of the NBA draft in 2014, he has played professionally worldwide, even earning the NBL-China scoring champion in 2017 and 2019.

Furthermore, the power forward is NCAA Champion, MVP of AAC tournament, First team all -AAC, Consensus first-team All-American and has won Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award.

Professional Basketball Player Russ Smith. (Source: Sports Illustrated)

Apart from this, Russ became one of the five Louisville players to have his jersey retired. 

Let’s learn more about this Louisville basketball legend’s childhood, family, relationship, NBA career, and much more.

But, before we jump into the details, here are some quick facts about Russ Smith.

Quick Facts

Full NameRuss Antoin Smith 
NameRuss Smith
Nick NameTuna Fish, Russdiculous
Date of BirthApril 19, 1991 
Age31 years old
Birth PlaceNew York City, New York
NationalityAmerican
EthnicityAfrican-American
Zodiac Sign Aries
Height6 feet (1.83 m)
Weight166 lb (75 kg)
Hair ColorBlack
Eye ColorBlack 
Father’s NameRussell Smith
Mother’s NamePaulette A. O’Neal
SiblingsReece, April, and Savannah
SchoolSouth Kent School
High SchoolArchbishop Molloy High School
EducationUniversity graduate
UniversityLouisville
Marital StatusUnmarried
GirlfriendCecy
Current TeamFort Wayne Mad Ants 
ProfessionBasketball Player
ProfessionBasketball Player
PositionPoint Guard
Leagues  
  • National Basketball Association (NBA)
  • NBA G League
NBA Draft47th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft by Philadelphia 76ers 
Debut Year 2014
RetirementNot yet
HonorsJersey no. 2 retired by Louisville Cardinals
Awards and achievements
  • AAC Tournament MVP (2014)
  • First-team All-AAC (2014)
  • First-team All-Big East (2013)
Net Worth  $1- $5 million
Social MediaInstagram, Twitter
MerchBasketball Card
Last Update June, 2022

Russ Smith | Early Life

Russ Antoin Smith was born on April 19, 1991, in New York City, New York. He was born in NY Presbyterian hospital to his mother, Paulette A. O’Neal, and his father, Russell Smith.

Russ was very lively and naughty as a child. He used to dance where he shook his behind like a tuna fish. That’s when he got his nickname as tuna fish.

His father, Russel Smith, owned the hoops-themed Big Russ Barbershop in Harlem, whereas his mother was a housewife.

Russ credits his father on becoming who he is today. The power forward had a rollercoaster ride to where he is today, and he would think of giving up. But, his father motivated him and made sure he didn’t give up.

Russ’s father was a basketball player who played at Division II Molloy College and overseas for one year in Tunisia.

When he saw Russ’s interest in basketball, he ensured he would do everything to make him a basketball star.

Russ’s father would take him to different parks and pick out some, usually eight or nine years old kids. He would ask them to play a match with Russ by giving them money.

Despite being a six-year-old child, Russ easily defeated older children, and that’s when his father thought Russ had something in him.

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Russ Smith | Amateur Career

High School Career

Russ Smith was already a basketball star from his school days. He was a stellar basketball player at Archbishop Molloy High School.

The NBA aspirant played basketball under head coach Jack Curran for the high school team. Despite being a high schooler, he already had numerous basketball awards in his pocket.

Smith was chosen to the New York State Sportswriters Association all-state team, first-team all-CHSAA “AA,” and the New York Daily News first team.

Russ played prep basketball for South Kent School in 2010, averaging 19.7 points and 3.9 assists per game.

College Career

Smith enrolled in Louisville with a scholarship and played for their basketball team for his college. However, Smith was miserable during his first year due to injuries.

He couldn’t play in his first year and was excluded from every game. This had a big mental toll upon Smith, who thought his basketball career was over even before it started.

He broke down and packed all his belongings to return to his hometown. However, his teammate Rakeem Buckles stopped him and took him to the game.

Smith went to watch the game and had no intention of playing it. On the other hand, his team was performing poorly and was losing the game. The team had no chance of winning.

It was a terrible game. Just then, his coach approached him and told him to play. It was Russ’s moment to shine, and he did.

Russ Smith playing for Louisville. (Source: UofL news)

Though he didn’t play the entire freshman season, this game was enough to prove himself as a potential basketball star. The team was losing, but after Russ went out to play, the team came back from down 11 to win by 1.

Becoming Louisville Basketball Legend

Smith was a standout performer during his sophomore year. He got the nickname “Russdiculous” from head coach Rick Pitino named after his racehorse.

Furthermore, Smith broke a school record for most steals in a season, with 87 in 39 games. Smith had a big hand to help Louisville win the Big East tournament championship in four games over four nights in 2012.

On April 24, 2013, Smith announced that he would continue at Louisville for his senior year to increase his draft stock the following year. 

In addition, he was selected as one of ten semi-finalists for Naismith College Player of the Year on February 28. Smith was named to the Associated Press’s First Team All-American team. 

The Louisville retired his No. 2 jersey on January 22, 2022, and he became one of the five Louisville players to have his jersey retired.

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Russ Smith | Professional Career

Despite the smooth sails in his college career, Russ’s professional career was full of tides. He started after being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Philadelphia 76ers chose Smith with the 47th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft on June 26, 2014. However, his rights were traded to the New Orleans Pelicans for Pierre Jackson.

Smith was offended by clubs’ uncertainty about his ability to play point guard in the NBA, and he was angered by the fact that some big-time NBA draft prospects avoided workouts with him.

On July 15, 2015, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Pelicans, but he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies six months later.

Russ Smith playing for Memphis Grizzlies ( Source: Eurohoops)

On January 13, 2016, Smith was signed by the NBA Development League’s Delaware 87ers. He made an amazing debut with the 87ers scoring a team-high 37 points in 28 minutes off the bench.

Thus, he was selected NBA D-League Performer of the Week. The award was Smith’s first in his career. He earned his first career triple-double and established a D-League scoring record with 65 points.

But unfortunately, he was released by the 87ers on March 29, 2016, after being diagnosed with a season-ending injury.

On June 3, 2017, Smith signed with China’s Luoyang Zhonghe for the 2017 NBL season. He scored 62 points and had three steals in his debut. 

Smith set a career-high with 81 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Later, he signed with the Fujian Sturgeons for the 2017-18 CBA season.

On December 30, 2021, Smith was signed by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League. He is currently playing for them in NBA G League.

Russ Smith | Awards and Achievement

College Honors

  • NCAA Midwest Regional Most Outstanding Player (2013)
  • Big East All-Tournament Team (2013)
  • Big East All-Conference First Team (2013)
  • Lute Olson All-America Team (2013)
  • Sporting News All-American Third Team (2013)
  • NABC All-America Third Team (2013)
  • College Sports Madness All-America First Team (2013)
  • John Wooden Award All-American team (2014)

Professional Honors

  • NBL China Player of the Year (2017)
  • NBL China Import of the Year (2017)
  • Two times NBL China scoring champion (2017, 2019)
  • NBL China Guard of the Year (2017)
  • Consensus first-team All-American (2014)
  • Third-team All-American (2013)
  • First-team All-AAC (2014)
  • First-team All-Big East (2013)
  • Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award (2014)
  • AAC Tournament MVP (2014)
  • Jersey No. 2 retired by Louisville Cardinals

Russ Smith | Net Worth

The net worth of Russ Smith is estimated to be anywhere between $1 million to $5 million. He earned the net worth from his primary career as a basketball player.

Smith signed the rookie contract with New Orleans Pelicans worth $507,336. He then signed a contract worth $845,059 with Memphis Grizzlies.

Though Smith had a lot of switches in playing teams in his career, he did make good fortunes out of them.

Apart from this, Russ Smith also earns handsome money through his business and investments. He recently launched his line of bourbon whiskey named Mr. and Mrs. Bourbon.

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Russ Smith | Girlfriend

Russ Smith is in a relationship with Cecy. The couple has publicly opened their relationship. 

Though much information is not known, by the look of her Instagram handle, Cecy is a digital artist.

You can follow her on Instagram, where she has over 5K followers.

Russ Smith with his girlfriend Cecy (Source: Instagram)

The couple frequently posts about each other on their social media.

Social Media Presence 

Russ is an active user of Instagram and Twitter regarding his social media presence. You can find him frequently posting and tweeting about his life.

Smith has a huge fan following on his social media. He is open about his relationship and personal life to his fans and followers.

If you want to get a better picture of his personal and professional life, make sure to follow him on his social media handles.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Russ Smith still playing basketball?

Yes, Russ Smith is still playing basketball under Fort Wayne Mad Ants. However, he is not playing for NBA, but a minor league of the NBA called the NBA-G league.

What is the overall career statistic of Russ Smith?

He played 178 games with an average of 29.9 minutes per game. He had an average of 5 assists and rebounds per game, two steals per game, and 0.2 blocks per game. Overall, he had 26.9 points per game.

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