LOUISVILLE — The father of Russ Smith says the Louisville junior guard will leave school to enter the NBA Draft.
Russ Smith Sr. said the Cardinals' leading scorer "did it all" during his college career that culminated with Louisville's 82-76 victory over Michigan Monday night for the NCAA championship.
Smith's father said his son will announce his decision in the next week.
Smith averaged 18.9 points this season, including 23.3 in six NCAA Tournament games. But he struggled in the Cardinals' title-clinching victory, missing 13 of 16 shots and finishing with just nine points.
Never miss a local story.
Nonetheless, Smith Sr. said, "he's going."
Fans party after title
Louisville fans poured into the streets to celebrate the Cardinals' NCAA championship win over Michigan, throwing all-night parties that at one point became so raucous police in riot gear used pepper spray to break them up.
Gatherings were mostly peaceful Monday night following Louisville's third title and first since 1986. Louisville police said most of the 23 arrests were due to drunken or disorderly conduct.
Hundreds streamed onto Cardinal Boulevard, screaming, dancing and lighting off small fireworks in revelry that lasted into the early hours. Some partiers threw bottles at police, hitting an officer in the head, said police spokeswoman Carey Klain. The officer received minor injuries and was treated at a hospital and released, Klain said. Police responded to the bottle throwers with pepper spray.
A few revelers received minor injuries, said University of Louisville spokesman John Drees. He said two were injured in falls and another suffered a cut foot.
"It's huge," said freshman Paul DeNeve. "We have not only won tonight but the women's team plays tomorrow."
Pitino, not the team, attends women's game
Louisville Coach Rick Pitino went to New Orleans to watch the Cardinals' women's team play Connecticut in Tuesday night's NCAA championship — but without his players.
Under NCAA rules, neither the school nor Pitino could pay for the players to get to New Orleans to attend the game. The NCAA says it granted a waiver to Louisville early Tuesday that would have allowed the school to pay for the trip, but the school says it had already made plans to go home.
Pitino, his staff and several administrators were expected to attend the women's finals. The team plane landed about 2:25 p.m. EDT, and players immediately boarded a bus back to campus. A few dozen spectators looked on from a fence at Louisville International Airport.
After Louisville beat Michigan 82-76 Monday night in Atlanta, players and Pitino hinted at going straight to New Orleans to support the surprising women's team against the Huskies in the final. The men and their coach have frequently attended women's games this season and both programs have said they feed off each other's success.
For the women's big moment against the Huskies, it will be Pitino looking on from the stands.
"They all wanted to go to the women's game," Pitino said after the game. "We asked the NCAA and they said it's illegal."