Tonight, the Cardinals will honor 3 seniors on the basketball team: Kyle Kuric, Chris Smith, and Jared Swopshire. These 3 have helped the Cards win 98 games in the last 4 seasons. Senior night activities will begin at 6:45 tonight. Here is a little write-up on each senior…
Kyle Kuric has come from little-known walk-on to the Cards leading scorer in his 4 years at UofL. As a freshman, he played in 17 games and averaged 1.6 points per game. As a sophomore, it was much of the same. He ended up averaging 4 points per game, but he had possibly the biggest game of this career that season. In the final game at Freedom Hall against #1 Syracuse, Kuric exploded for 22 points, all in the 2nd half, as the Cards won the game 78-68. All of his points came on 3 pointers and dunks. It truly was a highlight-reel game for Kuric. If he had done nothing else in his career, he would still always be remembered for that game.
But he has done plenty more since then. His junior season he averaged 10.8 points per game and also had a big highlight moment with a dunk over Scott Martin of Notre Dame that actually was named the Dunk of the Year. He was also named Homecoming King that year. This season has been much of the same. He leads the Cards in scoring at 13.1 points per game and has been the Cards biggest threat from 3 point range. In the last 2 years, he has been known for hitting 3 pointers from “Kyle’s Corner” on the left side of the floor. When he shoots from there, it is a shocker if it does not go in. Somehow, most teams still leave him open in that spot, and he surely makes them pay.
Entering this season, Kyle gave up his scholarship and went back to becoming a walk-on. With his family’s financial situation, he was able to do this and open up a scholarship for someone else. That has not been mentioned too much during the season, but that was a very selfless thing to do to help out the team. Of course you won’t hear him talk about it, because he leads by example.
Here are a couple of Kyle’s biggest moments in a UofL uniform. Enjoy!
Jared Swopshire may not have the flashy plays or big highlights, but his effort can never be questioned. CSZ member Jeremy said this about Swopshire: “No matter what time I was at the Yum, 9pm or 2am, this kid was there. Sometimes during the summer when he was here he slept in his car so he could hoop anytime.” He did not play much as a freshman, but definitely improved into his sophomore season. He averaged 7.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. His minutes increased from freshman to sophomore year from 5.4 to 25 minutes per game.
He lost his entire junior season to injury. In the summer of 2010, he sustained a groin injury and never could recover in time to play. He has played sparingly this season, but he can always be counted on to make the right play. While his frame did not allow him to be very physical in Big East play, that never stopped him from getting rebounds and battling down low. He never really made the big mistake. His only downfall was his lean build, but he did what he could with what he had.
Swopshire had his first career double-double in his home city of St. Louis, MO against Arkansas in his sophomore season. He scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. His career high in points is 15, which came against St. John’s on January 9, 2010.
Chris Smith has been in the UofL program for 3 seasons. After playing 2 years at Manhattan, he transferred to UofL and had to sit out 1 season. In his 2 years of playing for the Cards, he has been a solid contributor who can score, rebound, and pass. Like Kyle Kuric, Smith also gave up his scholarship this season to be a walk-on and help the team out. His older brother is current New York Knicks player J.R. Smith, who made a name for himself as a member of the Denver Nuggets.
Smith is averaging 10.2 points per game this season. His high was 20, which he scored twice (both against DePaul). Against Rutgers this season, he struggled from the floor, shooting just 1 for 5. He still helped in other ways, grabbing a career high 13 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists with 0 turnovers. He has scored 623 points at UofL, and add that to his 596 that he scored at Manhattan, and he has 1,219 total points in his career.
He also may not have that big game or moment that people remember, but he has been a very important player for the Cards in his time here. When his shot wasn’t falling, he would still be in there rebounding or making the right plays. He has always been a solid defender as well. His overall effectiveness on this team will surely be missed.
Here is a big dunk he had against Rutgers this season…