There is truly no place like home.
After transferring to SMU from Kansas State, junior guard Nick Russell says he's excited for the opportunity to be back in his city of origin and ready the chance to bring Mustang basketball into prominence.
"I just wanted to come home," Russell said. "I wanted to come back and be around my mom and dad and give them the chance to come and see me play as well as put SMU back on the map. It was a good opportunity for me to come back."
Although returning to Dallas was the central factor in Russell's decision to transfer to SMU, the addition of head coach Larry Brown completely altered his personal perception as well as the culture of the entire team.
Russell says that the magnitude of the Brown hiring didn't really hit him until he stepped on to the court with the Hall of Fame coach. Russell says that he expects SMU's basketball program to grow immensely under Brown's leadership.
"At the time it didn't really hit me until months after when I was on the court with him," Russell said. "Now, it's just a blessing in disguise. It's going to open up so many doors for the whole team, for myself and for SMU in general. It's just a great addition."
Russell transferred to SMU last year and was forced to sit out for the entirety of the 2011-2012 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Coming from a program ran by the fiery Frank Martin, Russell says that Brown's coaching style is not unlike Martin's in term of demands and expectations, however, Brown is more of a teacher.
"He'll get on you," Russell said. "He doesn't have a problem with that. But a difference would be his patience. He'll work with you. He likes to teach and he likes to coach, which is impressive for him being his age. He gets into it. He's really in tune in the practices, which is great. It gets us going."
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard said sitting out for a year helped him get to know his teammates as well as grow as a basketball player.
After taking time out to reflect on his overall game and work on areas that needed improvement, Russell says that he's looking forward to this year. Up to this point, Russell says that Coach Brown has him playing point guard but he's ready to contribute wherever he is needed.
"Right now, I'm pretty much playing the point most of the time, which is totally fine with me," Russell said. "Sometimes I want to play off the ball a little bit just to get a feel for it but wherever he needs me in that moment in the game I'm fine to go anywhere. Even if it's at the center position, I won't have a problem with it as long as I'm on the court."
Russell says personally it would be nice to put up great numbers and hopefully make a future in basketball. However, his main focus is getting wins. He says now is the time for SMU to become a major presence in Dallas and believes his squad has the pieces in place to do it.
"I just want to win. Whatever it takes for us to win," Russell said. "Even if it's me scoring none and getting ten rebounds, if we get the ‘W' then that works for me. I just want to put SMU on the map.
"We have so much talent. We've got young guys who can contribute, we've got upper classmen, we've got returning guys that will contribute big time and with our coaching staff. that just takes us to another level. It's going to take time but we're going up. I say it all the time: We're Dallas' alarm clock. It's time for Dallas to wake up."
Hoops Player Profile Series: Nick Russell
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