In a matter of months, D'Angelo Russell has gone from a blip on NBA radars to a blast.
Flashback to December, to Ohio State’s visit to Louisville. It was the Buckeyes’ first road game of the season and the biggest game of baby-faced freshman D’Angelo Russell’s young career. And what a game. Thrust into a playmaking role after the Cardinals’ pressure overwhelmed senior Shannon Scott, Russell helped Ohio State erase a 19-point lead before eventually falling short. His final line: 17 points, six rebounds and six assists in an eye-opening performance.
Today, Russell is the biggest surprise in college basketball. He’s averaging 19.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists. He’s played at least 32 minutes in each of his last 12 games and cracked 40 twice. He’s gone from decent prospect to full-fledged star, from a blip on the NBA’s radar to a player every team drafting in the top 10 is gathering information about—all in the span of a few months.
While it’s unlikely Russell—or anyone—can unseat the man entrenched at No. 1, his stellar play has elevated him to the spot right below him.
Onto Big Board 3.0, my latest projections of the top 20 prospects for the 2015 NBA draft.