College Basketball

Top Ohio State freshman D'Angelo Russell not cleared by NCAA

D’Angelo Russell, the No. 18 player in the country, could miss valuable summer practice time. Photo:

D’Angelo Russell, the No. 18 player in the country, could miss valuable summer practice time.

Ohio State’s top incoming recruit has not been cleared to play this season.

Shooting guard D’Angelo Russell did not report with the rest of Ohio State’s freshmen for the start of summer classes Monday because the NCAA Eligibility Center has not approved his high school transcript, according to a report from The Columbus Dispatch.

The hold-up stems from a standardized test score that the NCAA has yet to receive. In conjunction with grades in high school core courses, Russell must score sufficiently on the test to be eligible this season.

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“We are hoping to have him here soon,” coach Thad Matta told the Dispatch in a text message.

Russell is the No. 18 player in the class of 2014, according to Rivals.com. He turned down offers from Arizona, Indiana, Louisville and Michigan State, among other schools, to play for the Buckeyes.

A skilled ball handler and scorer with deep shooting range, Russell is expected to compete for a starting spot in Ohio State’s backcourt. “He’s got ability to make big-time plays with the basketball in his hands, be it three-point shots, driving, getting fouled,” Matta said of Russell after he signed his National Letter of Intent in November. “He makes guys around him better.”

The Buckeyes lose their top three scorers – LaQuinton Ross, Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Aaron Craft – from a team that ranked 128th in the country in offensive efficiency, according to Kenpom.com.

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