Louisville guard Russ Smith will return to school for his senior season, his father told CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman.
Smith's father had told reporters immediately after the title game that his son was going to the NBA. But two weeks ago, Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Smith had yet to decide and was "50-50" on the choice. Smith was expected to be a second-round pick if he entered the NBA Draft.
Now, his return should be a huge boost to Louisville's chances of repeating as national champion. Smith averaged 18.7 points per game last season. He shot early and often, but his playmaking keyed Louisville's offense. Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng won't be back for the Cardinals, but Chane Behanan, Luke Hancock and Wayne Blackshear will. With Smith also back, the Cardinals will likely open the season as a top-5 team.