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D'Angelo Russell: 2014-2015 Ohio State Basketball player profiles


Jonathan Givony

Recruiting Rankings: 247: #30, ESPN: #23, Scout: #21, Rivals: #35
Committed to Ohio State

Strengths:
-Good physical attributes. Solid height. Good frame. Long arms. Big hands
-Incredibly smooth. Has some unexpected explosiveness he can unleash when needed
-Talented ball-handler. Operates at different speeds.
-Gifted scorer. Not polished, but can throw the ball in the basket in impressive fashion and in a variety of ways
-Floaters in the lane. Makes tough shots off the dribble
-Good feel for the game. Makes the extra pass. Passes ahead in transition. Can find teammates creatively
-Needs to improve ball-handling.
-Fills up the stat sheet with points, assists, rebounds and steals
-Has the potential to be a good defender if he wants to

Weaknesses
-Doesn't know how to use his talent in a consistent fashion. Plays in spurts. Tends to disappear at times
-Average ball-handler in the half-court. Rarely gets all the way to the basket. Doesn't get to the free throw line at a very high rate. Getting stronger will help as he doesn't do a great job finishing through contact
-Inconsistent outside shooter. Has awkward shooting mechanics like many lefties, but main culprit is his poor shot-selection. Made 28% of his 3-point attempts in 19 Nike EYBL games
-Loves to settle for bad shots off the dribble. Takes too many long two-pointers
-Needs to improve his catch and shoot jump-shot
-Takes plays off on defense

Outlook: Talented lefty scorer who can put points on the board with amazing ease. Shows an extra gear he can get to off the dribble that isn't readily apparent on first glance. Game comes very naturally for him, but goes through prolonged stretches of inefficiency. Will benefit from being pushed by Ohio State's coaching staff.
http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/DAngelo-Russell-7175/


 

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Discussion Starter #2
Jeremy (Columbus)

Has D'Angelo Russell been making any noise with NBA folk?

Chad Ford (1:57 PM)

Yes. He's a scoring machine, but he also has the ability to be a big point guard in the NBA. That's a big deal. Could be in the lottery by the end of the year. There just aren't a lot of great point guard prospects in this year's draft.
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Meet your ACC/Big Ten Surprise of the Year so far: D'Angelo Russell

Ohio State coach Thad Matta has one of the most distinctive styles in college basketball. Year in and year out, he loves -- for lack of a better term -- to feature the heck out of his featured scorer. On any given Buckeyes team there is customarily one (and only one) star player on offense who carries a heavy workload in terms of possessions. Whether it's Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger, Deshaun Thomas or LaQuinton Ross, identifying "the man" in Columbus is seldom difficult.

This season, that star would appear to be 6-foot-5 freshman D'Angelo Russell. While granting that OSU's schedule to date has not been particularly challenging, Russell has been outstanding. Put it this way: Russell's per-possession stats, should they prove to be legit, would mean Frank Kaminsky actually has competition in this season's Big Ten Player of the Year race. Russell has been that good, making shots from both sides of the arc while demonstrating a surprisingly polished ability to make the correct pass.

Matta's teams rarely lack for defense, but if Russell proves to be even somewhat as effective as he has been to this point on offense, it will officially be time to revise our expectations for Ohio State upward. Fortunately the Buckeyes' next game is at Louisville, so we should get a better indication of how good the freshman star and his supporting cast truly are.
http://insider.espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/11958154/the-north-carolina-tar-heels-work-progress-college-basketball
 

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Okafor and Towns are two freshmen off to red-hot starts, but they aren't the only ones. Russell's been a dominant scorer and playmaker for the Buckeyes and is posting a whopping 34.22 college PER in his first five games for OSU. He has head coach Thad Motta to thank for some of that. Russell is posting a whopping 25.6 usage rate -- he's clearly got the green light from Motta to do what he wants to do out there. Interestingly, it's that 24.3 assist rate that really excites scouts. This draft is really thin on point guards. If Russell can prove to be both a scorer and passer this year, he's a lock to go in the top 10.
-Chad Ford
 

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D’Angelo Russell showed the good and bad
Statistics: 17 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 turnovers and 2 steals on 6-for-20 shooting

D’Angelo Russell couldn’t handle the Cardinals’ pressure in the first half. Terry Rozier and Chris Jones did a great job of sticking to him like glue and speeding him up in the half court. When he was able to get some daylight, he either rushed his shot or had a 7-footer closing out on him. As a result, he scored just five points on 2-for-9 shooting.

In the second half, though, Russell was a different player. He settled down and was the catalyst in the Buckeyes’ comeback. 10 of his 17 points came in the final six minutes of the game.

Even when Russell wasn’t at his best, it’s easy to see the appeal. At 6-foot-4, he’s got great size for a point guard and he’s very smooth. When he’s able to find a seam to the basket, he does a good job of weaving his way around defenders for easy looks. On jump shots, he gets good elevation and he has a quick release. He’s also a smart player with great vision. He finished the game with seven assists, but he could’ve easily worked his way into double figures. He found his teammates several times on the pick-and-roll and helped dissect Louisville’s defense in the second half.

Russell certainly looked like lottery pick-material at times on Tuesday.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
 

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Why is Russell such an interesting prospect? Scouts believe he has the tools to excel at both the 1 and the 2 in the NBA. He is a smooth scorer who can score both inside and outside and he's a got the handle and court vision to be a terrific playmaker in the NBA someday.

Projecting him as a point guard makes him especially interesting to scouts who are looking for alternatives to Mudiay, as they believe Mudiay will be gone in the first three picks.

"There's so much to love about his game," one GM told ESPN.com about Russell. "Even when he has a bad game, it looks like a good one because every time the ball leaves his lands, it looks like it's going in. He plays with such great confidence and has a terrific feel. I think he could be a James Harden-type player at the next level. That's what kind of scorer and playmaker he could be."

Said another GM: "We thought for a while we would have a great chance of landing him in the late lottery. But we've given up. He's too good. After Okafor, Mudiay and Towns are all off the board, I think he'll be heavily in the conversation."
-Chad Ford
 

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Welcome to the Grindhouse!
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My goodness...his game is tailored made for the league.
 

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Through The Wire
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He's the second best player in the draft worst case scenario. I like Towns, Turner, and others. Howver, it's Okafor, Russell then everyone else.
 

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Fran's Film Session: Russell is draft's most skilled player(Insider)
Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell is the most skilled player in June's NBA draft.

Barring an injury, the No. 1 pick has been established. It will be Duke big man Jahlil Okafor. Look for the 18-year-old Russell (turns 19 on Feb. 23) to make a strong case to be selected next.

At 6-foot-5 and armed with a 6-9 wingspan, Russell has a unique ability to control a college basketball game with his scoring, passing, basketball intelligence and leadership. But most impressive is that he already possesses the poise and countenance of a 10-year NBA veteran.

Virtually everything the left-handed Russell has accomplished for Ohio State this season has been done with great efficiency. In fact, he makes spectacular plays look simple, and simple plays, from a coach's perspective, look spectacular.

Let's start with his passing. Although Russell is the leading freshman scorer in the country at 19.4 points per game, it is his incredible vision and confidence to throw passes into tight spots that impress me the most, and he is averaging 5.2 assists a contest.

Great passers find teammates who often don't even realize that they are open. A perfect example of this creativity is this one-hand bounce pass against Northwestern. Watch how Russell waits for Sam Thompson to clear the screen before delivering this perfect pass with great wrist strength. To me, this is the "pass of the year" in college basketball.

As Hall of Fame coach Pete Carril used to say, "The quality of your shots is directly related to the quality of your passes." Russell exemplifies this trait.

In addition to his passing, Russell is a prolific scorer and an outstanding shooter with NBA range. He has what I call an effortless shooting stroke with great economy of movement. More than halfway through the Buckeyes' season, he is shooting 44.6 percent from the 3-point line.

But most impressive is his accuracy from behind the arc on the move in the open court. He has been just as accurate in transition as he has been in the half court. In fact, he is shooting 46 percent in fast-break situations.

On nearly back-to-back possessions versus Maryland, Russell's ability to stop and pop off the dribble demonstrates a difficult shot to master for a young player. But as you see below, he makes it look easy.

Opponents detail how to stop Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell(Insider)

What's the best way to stop him?

Maryland's Richaud Pack: "Honestly, not to let him get to the ball. When you deny him, he was rather passive. But if he gets the ball, he's still comfortable and confident taking -- and making -- contested, deep shots."

Minnesota's Andre Hollins: "Get into him early and don't let him get comfortable. When we played him, he got into a rhythm and scored 25 in the first half. Then we got into him and he scored two in the second half."

Northwestern's Tre Demps: "It's rare to have a guy make pull-up 3s. Usually, you want to force a guy to take pull-up 3s, but he can make them. You need to crowd his space, get into him and it may be more effective to make him shoot floaters."
So, what is D'Angelo Russell's weakness?

Pack: "Finishing right. He goes right, but he still tends to finish with his left hand. That can work in college, but I think he'll have to get better at the next level at finishing with his right hand."

Hollins: "I'd say defense. I think he can defend, but he's just young and I think he's going through a learning curve on the defensive end. It comes with time."

Demps: "It's hard to say because he didn't really have any when we played him, but guys like him can get careless at times. I've watched a couple games where he'd made some careless turnovers. If he sharpens that up, he'll be tough to stop -- at any level."
Was Russell more impressive than you anticipated?

Pack: "He's totally different than when you watch him on film. I watched four games and I didn't see the same player I saw when I played him. I thought he was going to be a freshman who jacked up shots, but he was much better than I thought. He's really good."

Hollins: "He was definitely more impressive than I thought he'd be. I mean, he got 25 in the first half -- and that took me by surprise. He came out on fire. The guy is the real deal."

Demps: "You knew he was a talented scorer, but I was really blown away by how he took over and literally put his team on his back."
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Ohio State Freshman Has Fun, and Seizes the National Stage

Antonio Russell said he lost track of time Friday sitting at a computer in his Louisville home, captivated by a YouTube highlight reel of his son.

There was D’Angelo Russell passing. D’Angelo Russell shooting 3-pointers. D’Angelo Russell dunking.

The elder Russell said he started to cry.

“I had to think to myself, ‘What are you crying for?’ ” he said, laughing. “Just seeing all the work that he has put in and for him to be able to enjoy what he is doing and have fun. I just want him to have fun.”

D’Angelo Russell, a freshman guard for 20th-ranked Ohio State, has been doing that since he arrived in Columbus. He has been one of the most electrifying players in college basketball, the Buckeyes’ go-to option late in games since the start of the season. He enters Sunday’s game against the Big Ten newcomer Rutgers in the top 25 nationally in scoring, at 19.4 points per game.

“I kind of just unpacked my bags, watched and learned the best that I could,” Russell said. “To see what I could do, the way I could fit in the best that I could. And then when I got comfortable and used to what was going on, I tried to separate myself the best I could.”

It is something he has been doing on the basketball court from a young age. In fact, it is how he stood out to his first high school coach.

“Some friends and guys I know had told me, ‘Bib, you might have something,’ ” said Doug Bibby, coach of Louisville’s Central High School. “When he showed up, I was waiting for him. And when he showed up, he showed out.”

It was a summer open gym session. Bibby remembered that there were freshmen and sophomores playing, mixed in with some of the upperclassmen. But all he could see was the skinny eighth grader holding his own against the older kids.

“Everything I was told — it was that and then some,” Bibby said.

Before arriving at Central High School, Bibby was at Eastern High School in Louisville, where he coached the future N.B.A. All-Star Rajon Rondo. When Bibby began hearing about how Russell was ahead of the learning curve in middle school, he thought he would see a player with potential who needed some polishing.

But Russell became a starter on Day 1 at Central. When he transferred to Monteverde Academy in Florida to play for Kevin Boyle’s nationally recognized program midway through his sophomore year, he started immediately there as well.

And when he got to Ohio State, he started from the first game and has not looked back.

“D’Angelo has a great understanding of the game of basketball,” Ohio State Coach Thad Matta said recently on the Big Ten’s weekly teleconference. “He’s a very diligent worker in terms of doing the best he possibly can. He wants to be a great player. Before practice, after practice, you see him in there working.”

While Russell was highly coveted coming out of high school at Monteverde and was a McDonald’s all-American, he was overshadowed by some of the other players in his class. He was considered to have N.B.A. potential but was not a sure bet like Jahlil Okafor of Duke or Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky. But as the college basketball season makes the turn toward March, it is Russell who is being mentioned as a possible top selection.

Last week, the ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla wrote in an evaluation of Russell that he is “the draft’s most skilled player.”

“I don’t really keep in touch with those scenarios,” Russell said of his possible N.B.A. future. “Those are personal goals that will come up after the season. Right now, I’m just worried about our team.”

Given the eye-catching plays that Russell has made, it is easy to see why he may be highly coveted at the next level. He has had 11 games with 20 or more points, but it has been his all-around playmaking ability that stands out. In particular, his passing.

Last month in a victory at Northwestern, he stood between midcourt and the 3-point line, holding the ball outstretched in his left hand. In the blink of an eye, he whipped it diagonally across the floor — through the middle of the defense — to a cutting Sam Thompson for a dunk.

His father’s reaction: “Wow.”

Bibby’s reaction: “I had to rewind it.”

Russell said, “I think I might do it two or three more times before the year is over.”

It was just D’Angelo Russell having fun.

“As a father, you always think your son is great,” Antonio Russell said. “But when you’re watching a game or a highlight tape and you hear someone — like a Jay Bilas — say that your son is great, it just brings tears to my eyes. It’s surreal.”
 
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