The 6-foot-1 junior guard from the Bronx opted not to enter his name in the NBA Draft and will play his senior season at U of L.
Smith led the Cardinals with 18.7 points a game as a junior and helped the team to the school's third NCAA national title. He also grabbed 3.3 rebounds and dished out 2.9 assists while shooting 32.8 percent from beyond the arc.
"I really realized how much I enjoyed playing with my teammates and how much fun it is to win," Smith said. "And I want to be the first person from my family to graduate college with a degree."
Smith said he made his decision to return on Wednesday morning after "doing a lot of thinking," in recent days. He said he went back and forth on his decision but is returning because of feedback Pitino received from the NBA.
"I love to win, and with the group we have coming back, I want to go out a winner and I want to get my degree," Smith said. "The pros of staying were so much better than the pros of leaving. All the pros I put down of leaving were very immature. This season, I have some new goals and some new challenges."
Pitino said the "pros want to see a different Russ Smith." He said he feedback said Smith needed 10 pounds of muscle, better shot selection and the ability to be able to play the point guard spot.
"We can make him better," Pitino said.
This story will be updated.