Russell averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists over 33.9 minutes per game as a freshman, playing a key role on an Ohio State team that finished 24–11 after losing to Arizona in the NCAA tournament's Round of 32.
Russell was named a first-team All-American by multiple outlets last season and was also the Big Ten freshman of the year, as voted on by coaches and media.
"This was a hard decision because I knew I could come back and play with my teammates who I love, and to be coached by coach Thad Matta again would have been awesome, but at the same time I wanted to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA," Russell told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "I know what I am capable of and the sky's the limit with effort. I know I have a lot to work on."
SI.com's Chris Mannix projected Russell to the Sacramento Kings with the No. 6 pick in June's draft, saying, "Questions about Russell’s athleticism are drowned out by praise for his playmaking and brilliance in the pick-and-roll. Russell is an ideal complement to DeMarcus Cousins."
Russell came to Ohio State as a five-star recruit and the No. 18 prospect in the class of 2014, according to Rivals.com.
- Mike Fiammetta