Russell getting exposure

One of the fastest rising 2009 hoop stars visits with Aggie Websider's David Sandhop about his top schools and what he sees as his biggest strengths and what his plans are heading into his senior year of high school.

One of the fastest rising Class of 2009 prospects in the state is Arlington Grace Prep (TX) point guard Nick Russell. Don't let his 6-foot-5, 185-pound frame fool you. He's not a two guard who can substitute at the point in a bind. He's a point guard all the way.

"I really like the one. It's my natural position," Russell said. "My strength is my ability to drive the ball, separate, and hit the open shot."

While some recruiting experts are calling Russell a sleeper, he's been a known commodity to many college coaches since the fall. He has a long list of offers to prove it with the likes of Baylor, Colorado, Texas A&M, Texas, OU, OSU, Iowa, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, and Minnesota just to name a few. At this point, Russell does not claim to have a leader and is still open to schools looking at him.

"All schools are even for now. I'm pretty much open," Russell said. "I will start narrowing my list in the summer and then I plan to take my official visits in the fall. After that, I'll pick the best school for me."

So what is the best school for the Metroplex product? What factors are most important in his recruiting?

"I'll be looking at the depth chart and the ability to earn early playing time," Russell said. "Second, I need to feel comfortable with the school and the surroundings. Third, I need to trust the coach and see that he'll have my back."

While Russell is early in the recruiting process, he has had a chance to unofficially visit several schools in Texas and in Oklahoma and he's come away with some initial impressions.

In regard to Baylor:
"I like BU. It's close to home and the university is nice," Russell said. "I like their playing style, run-and-gun."

In regard to Texas A&M:
"I've been to A&M twice. The atmosphere is crazy," Russell said. "I get along with everybody there and I like the staff. They are good coaches."

In regard to Texas:
"I didn't go there for a game so I don't know much about the atmosphere," Russell said. "But their facilities are mind-boggling and the coaches are cool."

In regard to OU:
"I went there for a football game. I didn't see a basketball game," Russell said. "It was fun. The facilities were excellent and it's a big place. I don't know much about their playing style yet."

Russell averaged almost 19 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists as a junior with Grace Prep. However, he's currently playing with the prestigious Dallas Mustangs on the AAU circuit and turning heads from many recruiting services, which is one of the reasons why he's been tabbed a sleeper in recent months. But rest assured, he's no sleeper to major D-1 programs in the state of Texas and surrounding region.




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