Nolan Smith impressive in Louisville debut

Nearly 25 years after his father helped lead the University of Louisville to their first NCAA title, 6-3 Nolan Smith of Riverdale (MD) Baptist made his first, though Louisville fans hope not the last, appearance in the Derby City.

Nearly 25 years after his father helped lead the University of Louisville to their first NCAA title, 6-3 Nolan Smith of Riverdale (MD) Baptist made his first, though Louisville fans hope not the last, appearance in the Derby City.

Considered one of the top 10 prospects in the sophomore class nationally, Smith drew an impressive crowd of former U of L greats, including Darrell Griffith, Scooter McCray and Wiley Brown, to watch his game Saturday afternoon at Louisville Gardens in the second game of the Louisville Roundball Classic.

And what his father's former U of L teammates saw was that the younger Smith is a chip off the old block. Smith scored 19 points and helped lead his team, along with fellow sophomore 6-8 Michael Beasley, to a big win over Louisville DeSales.

"It was exciting," Smith, who also had several members of his family in attendance, said. "I just tried to relax playing in front of a lot of old friends and family. I was a little nervous at first but I tried to relax and just have fun."

It's no secret that his father's former team figures prominently on his own list of college favorites. In fact, the Cardinals likely stand above the rest of the pack for his services because of his family ties to the city.

"They're very high [on my list]," Smith said of U of L. "I love the fans here in Louisville because they're so supportive of me and my family. I'd love to come back here and play."

With his sister currently attending U of L and several relatives, including his grandparents, residing in town, Louisville is Smith's home away from home.

"I try to come back every summer but it's hard playing AAU basketball and travelling," Smith admitted.

The Cardinals also have another edge, should they need one, in the race to secure his future services; his friendship with current U of L forward Brian Johnson, who like Smith is a Maryland native.

"I talk to him alot," Smith said. "He tells me how fun U of L is and he tries to get me down here."

Smith, who also lists Charlotte, Syracuse, Duke and Georgetown, said he and close friend Beasley often talk about attending college together, which could bode well for Rick Pitino and the Cardinals down the line. Beasley, a consensus top 10 prospect nationally, was impressive in his own right against the Colts, scoring 19 points.

"It would be nice to come to U of L together and win a championship," said Smith.


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