D’Angelo Russell: RTC Big Ten’s Preseason Freshman of the Year

Posted by Alex Moscoso (@AlexPMoscoso) on November 11th, 2014

Thad Matta has been the most successful coach at Ohio State since the Fred Taylor era in the sixties. As he enters his eleventh season in Columbus, his Big Ten resume reads as follows: Five regular-season conference championships, four tournament championships, and two Final Four appearances including a trip to the National Championship game. One of the pillars to his success has been his ability to lure superbly talented recruits who are able to have an immediate impact in their freshman season. Players like Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Jared Sullinger, and Aaron Craft have fit this bill and are a big part of why the Buckeyes have had sustained success for almost a decade. D’Angelo Russell is the next player to follow in these footsteps. He’s a prolific scorer who joins an Ohio State squad in need of someone to take the reins of their offense. For these reasons, he’s our Big Ten Preseason Freshman of the Year.

d'angelo russell

D’Angelo Russell is set up to lead his team in scoring in his first year at Ohio State (Danny Wild).

Although Russell is originally from Louisville, he finished his high school career in Montverde Academy in Florida where played point guard and led his prep team to win the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National Tournament. He was also selected to the McDonald’s All American team where he scored 11 points (5-10 FG) in 15 minutes. The 6’5”, 180 lbs. combo guard has a remarkable ability to put the ball in the basket due to his effective shooting, ball handling ability, and natural feel for the game. But what impressed Matta most about the young guard is “… his demeanor on the court at this point just in terms of, he can take a court over”.

Russell will have to get acclimated to his new setting quickly because he’s expected to replace the production of last season’s leading scorer and rebounder, LaQuinton Ross (15.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG). While Ross was an effective scorer, his effort did not translate into offensive chemistry with the team, as demonstrated by last year’s roster ranking 128th nationally in adjusted offensive rating. Now, it’s Russell’s turn to carry the offense as he’s expected in the starting lineup from the get-go. While he’ll play off the ball, his experience playing the point in high school has made him a competent passer (compare that to Ross who averaged less than 1.0 APG last season). There should be more assists coming from the shooting guard position this season, which will increase the scoring opportunities for everyone else. The freshman is off to a good start, he was the leading scorer in the Buckeyes first exhibition game with 17 points. Given his talent and the opportunity he’ll have to be the premier scorer on a team that so desperately needs one, we believe Russell will lead Ohio State in scoring and distinguish himself from the other players in his class.

Alex Moscoso (170 Posts)

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