Hubert Davis Watches Russell

ROSELLE, N.J. – If North Carolina was not seriously interested in Montverde (Fla.) Academy's D'Angelo Russell before Thursday night, it would not be a surprise if that begins to change.

UNC assistant coach Hubert Davis was in the house at the Roselle Catholic Hoops for Troops Basketball Classic, where the class of 2014 star put on a show.

It was really only a dominant quarter by the 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard, but it was enough to leave a lasting impression.

Russell drilled five 3-pointers in the second quarter of a 77-51 win over Roselle Catholic. He finished with 21 points in the game and was the star of the night, with Davis there to take it all in.

"Coach Hubert Davis is here tonight and he . . . said, ‘Good game,' and so I guess I was doing something right," Russell said. "And I feel like I love North Carolina also and if I played in their system it would be a blessing. So, I'm just waiting."

As for his performance in that second quarter, Russell remarked, "I feel like I try to step up and make big-time plays for my teammates and for myself and I just felt like it was the opportunity to go."

He added that the opportunity to play in front of a different crowd of people helped motivate him for the ballgame.

"My coach said something to me that really touched me before the game. He was like, ‘Playing in different states is probably the first time people get to see y'all play and if they've heard about you and you don't show up like they've heard about you then you're really nothing, so just show up.' And that's what I try to do."

Montverde will draw a packed house just about wherever it goes, as the undefeated Eagles are arguably the No. 1 squad in the nation.

"It's definitely one game at a time, but I feel like if we lose, we're definitely doing something wrong," Russell said. "We shouldn't lose with the type of guys we have. So, just being together as a team, I feel like we have the best team and we shouldn't lose."

On an individual basis, Russell – who is ranked the No. 1 shooting guard in 2014 and the No. 10 prospect overall by – shed some light on his game besides the shooting he displayed Thursday night.

Of his primary strength as a player, Russell commented, "Every time I step on I try to be the smartest player on the court and I feel like me being the smartest player is the key. So, that's what I feel like my strongest attribute is."

He also talked about his chief area of weakness on the hardwood.

"Probably my athleticism," Russell said. "That's something I can work on and work on as soon as possible, but at the moment that's probably my weakest [point]."

A native of Louisville, Ky., Russell listed an offer from his hometown Cardinals as well as from Indiana, Ohio State, Missouri, Xavier, North Carolina State, Nebraska, and Memphis. He noted that those were the only ones he could think of.

North Carolina, Florida, Georgetown, and "kind of" Kentucky are other programs expressing interest in the big-time scorer. Russell claims no favorites right now, though.

"Just, I'm trying to go in, play right away," Russell said of what he is looking for in a school. "I'm trying to work for everything I get, every opportunity I get. Being around the right coaching staff, right type of guys and just getting better every year."

Russell also talked about what position he is primarily being recruited to play at the collegiate level.

"I like to ask whoever's recruiting me what position they see me as and they say—usually the answers I've been getting [are that] their two and three play the same, just one runs different sides, but they're really much the same," Russell said. "So, as long as I'm on the floor [it is fine]."

The Louisville, Ky. went into a bit more detail about UNC, beginning by explaining why he said he "love[s] North Carolina."

"I love all the schools that are recruiting me, but North Carolina, it's big-time, just from all the players that's been through there," Russell said. "Coach Roy Williams [is a] great coach, and just they're a winning school and that's something I want to be in, a winning program."

Most of the communication with the Tar Heels has actually been done by Russell's father to this point.

"They've been talking to my dad a lot," Russell said. "I don't really—I try not to contact the coaches as much. I try not to focus on it. I just give them my dad's number and go from there. So, [we are] just going from there."

Asked if he knows what the UNC staff has been telling his father, Russell replied, "Not really, they probably told my dad something and my dad probably told me something different just to keep me motivated. So, I don't know."

Whether it is because of his father or some other reason, if Thursday night was any indication, Russell's motivation appears to be yielding strong results.

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