By Brian Kotloff, NBADLeague.com
Less than three months after Jordan McRae scored an NBA D-League record 61 points, another Delaware 87er did him four better.
Guard Russ Smith, NBADLeague.com’s No. 1-ranked prospect, poured in a new record 65 points on Wednesday night in Canton, surpassing his former teammate’s total from Jan. 26.
|NBA D-League Single-Game Scoring Leaders|
|65||Russ Smith||Delaware 87ers||March 23, 2016|
|61||Jordan McRae||Delaware 87ers||Jan. 26, 2016|
|58||Pierre Jackson||Idaho Stampede||Feb. 14, 2014|
|Dar Tucker||Reno Bighorns||March 28, 2015|
|56||Manny Harris||Los Angeles D-Fenders||Feb. 8, 2015|
|53||Morris Almond||Utah Flash||Jan. 30, 2008|
|Will Conroy||Albuquerque Thunderbirds||April 8, 2009|
Smith shot 24-of-42 from the field, 1-of-5 from three-point range and 16-of-20 from the free throw line in the scoring binge. He can only hope he follows McRae’s footsteps all the way to the NBA; McRae was called up to the Suns three days after his 61-point game and has since signed a multi-year deal with the Cavs.
Smith entered the night averaging 26.1 points, ranking fifth in the league among players who’ve played at least 20 games. Wednesday’s game — one of 11 regular season NBADL games televised on ESPNU this season — was the sixth time in 22 games overall in which he’s scored 37-plus, including a 50-point effort 17 days prior.
Smith has spent time with two NBA teams and three NBA D-League teams since graduating from Louisville as a consensus first-team All-American and 2013 NCAA champion. He was drafted by the Sixers with the No. 47 overall pick in 2014 and subsequently traded to the Pelicans on Draft night.
After appearing in just six games with New Orleans, the Pelicans traded him to the Grizzlies, with whom he also appeared in six games. Both teams assigned him to the NBA D-League for extended stretches during his rookie year, as he averaged 18.1 points in 25 NBA D-League games.
He was waived by Memphis on Dec. 29 this season and acquired by the 87ers, the Sixers’ affiliate, on Jan. 13.
Smith’s explosion is the latest in a historic stretch for Delaware. Four different Sevens players have scored at least 45 points in a game this season — a first in NBA or NBADL history.
— Delaware 87ers (@Sevens) March 24, 2016