Men’s Basketball Recruit: D’Angelo Russell
Weight: 180 lbs.
Position: Shooting Guard
Russell is the top recruit in what will be the best freshman class Ohio State has had since the 2006-07 season. Russell is ranked #13 on the ESPN100 board, and is ranked the top shooting guard starting college ball next season. As a freshman the pure shooting Russell will get a lot of playing time thanks to his ability to get buckets, in spite of Coach Matta’s reluctance to play first year players.
Strengths: Russell is a good size for a shooting guard at 6’4″, but he could afford to add some weight on if he hopes to be able to take it to the basket in the Big Ten. Russell also has really good speed and ball handling skills making him a tough guy to stop when he is trying to get to the rim. Russell’s biggest strength, and the thing that will help the Buckeyes the most, is his ability to score from anywhere on the floor. Threes, mid-range jumpers, fadeaways, and floaters, it doesn’t matter what part of the floor D’Angelo Russell can put it in the basket. For a Buckeye team that struggled so much to find a go to scorer on offense this past season, Russell is the best possible answer. Russell isn’t only a scorer however, the sharp shooting guard has incredible court vision and is highly capable of setting up his teammates. Russell seems to be the answer for an anemic Buckeye’s offense, the best part is that he will have some dynamic freshman around him to utilize. Lastly is his ability to defend wing players thanks to his length. Russell is a long, quick, and athletic guard who can frustrate ball handlers and deny passing lanes.
Weaknesses: Russell doesn’t have many weaknesses as one of the top recruits coming out of high school, but there are a few. Russell is tall for his position, but what he has in height he lacks in muscle weight. Russell is a lanky 180 lbs. and he will have a tough time banging around the basket if he doesn’t add some weight. It will also be crucial for the young guard to be efficient on offense, as he will likely be the primary scorer. Russell will need to make sure he is playing within the offense and doesn’t become content with jacking up shots from range. Russell will also need to make sure he puts in the focus on defense and not exert all his effort on the offensive end of the floor. Russell is more then capable, physically, of being a dominant player in college basketball but his success will rely heavily on his focus to be great.
Overall: There is a reason that Russell was one of the top high school recruits, he can flat out ball. Ohio State is fortunate to have landed a guy with such a wide ranging skill set. Thad Matta has been in need of a scorer since DeShaun Thomas left school, and Russell is everything you could ask for in an offensive weapon. Strength training and conditioning will play a major role in how successful Russell can be, but he possesses the talent to be a great player in the Big Ten. Russell’s ability to score will give him an opportunity to step in immediately and make an impact for the Buckeyes.
Highlights of D’Angelo Russell can be found here.