Manual freshman's homecoming escort: Louisville's Russ Smith

Her date absent, Manual High School freshman basketball player Tonysha Curry got quite the fill-in for homecoming ceremonies Friday night.

University of Louisville basketball player Russ Smith just happened to be in the stands and took the part of Curry’s escort between games of the Eastern-Manual doubleheader.

Curry had just scored four points in Manual’s 58-54 victory over Eastern and – as homecoming ceremonies got going before the boys’ game – realized her date didn’t show up. That’s when teammates urged her to approach Smith.

“I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do it. I’m scared,'” Curry said with a laugh. “I just walked over there and said, ‘Excuse me, can you please escort me for homecoming court.’ He was like, ‘Can I do it? Really? Really?'”

Smith said he was glad to help out Curry.

“It actually made my day more than hers,” Smith said. “It was really nice of her to ask me, so I got up and did it for her. … That never happens. It’s one-in-a-million. That made my day.”

Smith said he attended the game because he’s good friends with Dean Baumert, an assistant coach with the Eastern boys’ squad who is a former student manager at U of L.

Smith also participated in a halfcourt shooting contest during halftime of the boys’ game and made his second attempt.

Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and on Twitter @kyhighs.

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