Lady Vols land No. 1 in the land

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Mercedes Russell, the consensus top player in the country, gave a verbal commitment to Tennessee in an assembly at Springfield (Ore.) High School.

The 6-foot-5 center chose the Lady Volunteers over Louisville. Russell visited both schools several times — her official visits were on consecutive weekends this month — with her most recent trip to Rocky Top coming the weekend before last.

The verbal was important to Tennessee for two reasons. One, post is a tremendous position of need for the Lady Vols. Two, and most importantly, Holly Warlick is a first-year head coach and she just secured the top recruit who could have chosen any school in the country. It validated Warlick being selected to succeed Pat Summitt and it established that she can indeed recruit, which was the biggest question she had to answer.

Russell joins Jannah Tucker, the No. 8 player in the country, to give Tennessee two top 10 commits in the Class of 2013. Tucker, a 6-0 wing from Maryland, reaffirmed her commitment over the weekend.

Tennessee remains in the hunt for additional recruits and hopes to sign 3-4 players in November. That process just got a lot easier Tuesday when the top player in the country said yes to Tennessee.

Check back later today for an interview with Russell about her decision.

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