D’Angelo Russell: ‘I can be No. 1′

INDIANAPOLIS — D’Angelo Russell has climbed the class of 2014 recruiting rankings as quickly as anyone in recent months. But Russell, currently ranked No. 10 by Rivals.com, knows he can climb even higher.

“I can be No. 1,” Russell said.

His AAU coach Ellis Myles, a former forward at the University of Louisville, didn’t disagree with his star player’s belief that he could become the top player in the class.

“I believe so. He’s 16 years old and two years away,” Myles said. “There’s a lot of guys re-classifying into that 2013 class. Hopefully it can happen that way.”

The 6-4 guard is in Indianapolis this week for the adidas Invitational. Russell is originally from Louisville and plays for the Louisville Magic, but he’s playing his high school ball at Montverde Academy in Florida.

Some of the top players in the country, including guard Kasey Hill and big man Dakari Johnson, also play at Montverde.

Last year was Russell’s first in Florida, and it was a challenging one for him. He failed to get off the bench in some games as the coaching staff tried to teach him how to play meaner.

“It gave me a chance to grow up a little bit,” Russell said. “It opened the doors for me to be able to defend. It’s like college — you gotta play defense to be on the floor, and I guess I didn’t bring it every day in practice.”

Myles said remembers constantly trying to motivate Russell to play harder defensively when he first began coaching him in AAU.

“It’s been an issue since the first few years I had him, trying to motivate him and get him to play defense and not give up that easy bucket when I’m hollering at him that everybody can make 3-point shots now,” Myles said. “That’s where the maturity has come from. Him playing defense really helps us get out on the fast break.”

There had been rumors that Russell would return to Louisville for his junior season next year, but he said there’s no truth to them. His experience at Montverde has challenged him like he’s never been challenged before, and he’s not ready to walk away from the test.

“I didn’t play as much as I should have, so I would say that I’m hungry,” Russell said. “I wasn’t mean enough. I adjusted to the system. I turned it around. It’ll be a different story next year.”

Russell has gotten interest from North Carolina and Kentucky recently, but he has yet to receive an offer from either school. Russell currently has offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, Louisville, Missouri, N.C. State, Ohio State, Tennessee, Virginia and Xavier.

While the list is long, Russell said Indiana is certainly a player.

“I’m in contact with them a lot,” he said. “I just like how coach Tom Crean, he turned the whole thing around.”

Russell is in no hurry to make a decision and he said he’ll probably wait as long as possible to do so.

“I want to see who’s coming with me, and who’s going in before me,” Russell said.

  • http://twitter.com/IUinNap Caleb Moore

    Would be an awesome get for Indiana, but I have to believe Louisville is the one to beat here. Have also seen him say a lot of nice things about OSU and lately Mizzou. We already have Blackmon and are recruiting Booth and Jones fairly hard. Given I think Stan is going to be a heck of a PG at Indiana I am not too concerned about the PG spot right now. Yogi should be here for at least a few years probably too. Lot’s of time to find that ’14 PG if it looks like we need more depth there.

  • http://twitter.com/IUinNap Caleb Moore

    Would be an awesome get for Indiana, but I have to believe Louisville is the one to beat here. Have also seen him say a lot of nice things about OSU and lately Mizzou. We already have Blackmon and are recruiting Booth and Jones fairly hard. Given I think Stan is going to be a heck of a PG at Indiana I am not too concerned about the PG spot right now. Yogi should be here for at least a few years probably too. Lot’s of time to find that ’14 PG if it looks like we need more depth there.

  • Bren

    Can’t even fathom Lyles, Blackmon, Vonleh, and Russell – exploding head type of class. Add Clifford Alexander? Holy God!

  • hoosierfootball

    i dont see the hype with recruiting these future one and dones, i’ll take davis and hartman any day over these guys.

  • inLinE6

    That’ll possibly be 5 future 1st rounder in NBA draft. I’d rather not follow Cal’s one-year-and-done suit.

  • HoosierKen73

    I agree with you.. I really don’t think Blackmon will be a one and done.. I hope Lyles sticks it out for two..and read somewhere, one here I believe it was.. Vonleh will probably be a 2 year..but who knows. When you’re that good, it’s a heckof a temptation to get going and starting to make the money. Interesting how high the percentage is, of NBA players that are broke within three years after they leave the NBA. That’s why they should change it and make it a two year commit minimum. At least they’d be almost to a degree. Besides, it’d be great to be able to count on them and watch them, for at least two years…guess that may be a little selfish, but oh well, love the college game better than the pros anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zach.ward.735 Zach Ward

    That’s why your username is hoosierfootball. Zing. Love Iu football, but i had to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/charles.williamson.90 Charles Williamson

    I think IU still needs to go after the top notch players, but it seems like CTC places an emphasis on character and academic proficiency. If a player can play 1 year and perform in the classroom standards he has I have no problem with that. What gets me about the “one and done” situations is that some of these guys skate by for 1 semester and pretty much check out the 2nd semester. That is not fair for the players who do well.
    Some schools just look at how highly rated a player is worry about academics/edibility later.
    In Trey’s situation, he committed to play very early and if he plays a year and his draft stock is high and he decided to declare so be it. I feel he was not deciding to go to IU as a stepping stone.

  • WhiteMamba

    that is absurd.

  • WhiteMamba

    that is absurd.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chad-Estes/100002662163433 Chad Estes

    You’re never going to get back to hanging championship banners with that attitude. I mean are you serious?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chad-Estes/100002662163433 Chad Estes

    You’re never going to get back to hanging championship banners with that attitude. I mean are you serious?

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