D’Angelo Russell impressed by Indiana’s turnaround

After receiving a scholarship offer on an unofficial visit last August, 2014 guard D’Angelo Russell said the one thing he noticed about the Indiana staff was how much they cared about the players in the program on and off the court.

That was before Tom Crean led the Hoosiers to a turnaround season that ended with a trip to the Sweet 16.

The revival last winter in Bloomington did not go unnoticed by Russell, the No. 14 player nationally in the 2014 class according to ESPN.com.

“I like the way Tom Crean turned the whole atmosphere around,” Russell said Saturday at the adidas May Classic. “Just how he gets his guys involved and ready to play every game.”

Russell spent his sophomore season at Montverde Academy after beginning his high school career in Louisville, Kentucky at Central High School. The adjustment was difficult at first for the left-handed guard.

“It was tough from the start because it’s college preparatory,” he said. “The work ethic is different, everything. Mandatory study halls and you’re by yourself. You’ve gotta do everything by yourself and it’s just tough.”

Montverde’s season ended with an 86-83 loss to Findlay Prep in the National High School Invitational Championship. The goals at Montverde are even more ambitious for next season.

“We shouldn’t lose a game next year,” Russell said.  “We’ve got a dominating point guard in Kasey Hill (Florida commit). We’ve got multiple different weapons in me, Dakari Johnson, he’s an amazing threat. And we’ve got role players coming in.”

As for recruiting, Indiana joins Louisville, Ohio State and Xavier as the four programs that have extended scholarship offers. Cincinnati and Missouri are also involved and are on Russell’s summer calendar for unofficial visits.

He does not, however, have a leading school in his recruitment.

“Every school’s at the top,” he said. “I don’t really have a favorite school.”

  • Evansville Hoosier

    I’d imagine Louisville has the inside track, but Russell is a guy I’ve always put at the top of my “wish list”, regardless of class. He’s obviously very talented, and extremely quick. Locking up a guy of his caliber would ensure 2014 is a top 5 class.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    I’d imagine Louisville has the inside track, but Russell is a guy I’ve always put at the top of my “wish list”, regardless of class. He’s obviously very talented, and extremely quick. Locking up a guy of his caliber would ensure 2014 is a top 5 class.

  • chumhoosier

    I think solely having Trey and James locked down for that year will have us top 5 or 7 when the final rankings come in. But adding Jaquan and Russell would put us at the top

  • plane1972

    I think Jaquan and Russell is an either/or situation.

  • N71

    I tend to agree but stranger things have happened. Russell looks like he could be Paul Pierce’s son, looks similar, moves similar, has a similar game.

  • N71

    I tend to agree but stranger things have happened. Russell looks like he could be Paul Pierce’s son, looks similar, moves similar, has a similar game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.wojcik Eric Wojcik

    Euro Step and then Finger Roll at :38. That’s pretty slick.

  • twarrior87

    Would really like to add Alexander to that list of 2014 commits as well

  • SCHoosier

    this kid has UL written all over him..but you never know.

  • Hoosierfan60

    Sweet touch on his shot gets him that ‘shooter’s roll’. He could be pretty special if he grows a couple of inches and keeps working hard to improve his game on both ends of the floor. 

  • http://twitter.com/hoosiersmitty HoosierSmitty

    I immediately like him because he’s left-handed. On top of that, he’s pretty darn talented too. Have to think it’s a long shot, but winning can sometimes do its own recruiting. 

  • Mjw

    His fluidity reminds me of Derrick Rose

  • Mjw

    His fluidity reminds me of Derrick Rose

  • Kelin Blab

    Kid is very smooth and makes scoring look easy. The 2014 class will be better than the 2012 class. 

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