Russ Smith a Naismith Award finalist

One day after helping lead the University of Louisville men's basketball team into the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for a third consecutive year, senior Russ Smith has picked up another big-time individual honor.

Russ Smith is one of the best players in college basketball and on Sunday that was reaffirmed in a big-time way.

The University of Louisville senior guard was named one of four finalists for the very prestigious Naismith Trophy Men's College Player of the Year award. The award is given by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Smith joined Creighton's Doug McDermott, Arizona's Nick Johnson and Duke's Jabari Parker as the four finalists.

The finalists were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors. The winner will be named on April 6 in Dallas.

Fans can vote for the Player of the Year at and the fan vote will represent 25 percent of the balloting.

Smith has had an illustrious career at U of L and currently sits atop the school's all-time list for steals (256) and is fifth in points. He's averaging 18.1 points, 4.7 assists, and 2.0 assists this season and is the only player in school history with at least 1,800 career points, 350 assists and 250 steals.

A first-team All-American by The Sporting News and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, Smith was the MVP of the AAC Tournament and was the only player in the league to rank among the top five in league-only stats in scoring (18.0 points per game), assists (4.7), steals (2.3), and 3-point percentage (.474).

The Cardinals will play Kentucky on Friday night in the Sweet 16 in Indianapolis.

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