The city of Louisville has produced quite a few talented basketball prospects over the last five years. Rick Pitino and the UofL program have been fortunate enough in recent years to land a couple of the city’s top recruits in Quentin Snider and Raymond Spalding. But every once in a while you’ll see a local star decide to leave home and attend college elsewhere.
In my opinion, Louisville native D’Angelo Russell may end up being “the one that got away” when it’s all said and done.
“We wanted him obviously,” Rick Pitino told the media on Monday afternoon when asked about Russell. “He chose the right place because he can go and start for them and play a lot of minutes.”
Throughout Ohio State’s first five games of the season, Russell is playing like one of the best freshmen in the country. He’s averaging 18 points, five assists and four rebounds.
“He’s playing great basketball,” Pitino said. “I’ve always loved D’Angelo. He can pass, he can handle, he can shoot and go one-on-one. We wanted him very much here.”
Russell grew up in Louisville and played for Doug Bibby at Central High School for his first two years of prep ball. After bursting onto the national scene following his sophomore season, Russell decided to transfer to Montverde Academy in Florida, one of the top prep schools in the country.
He spent his first two years of AAU ball playing for the Louisville Magic where he was a teammate of current Cardinal Quentin Snider and was coached by former Cardinal Ellis Myles.
Russell was named a 2014 McDonald’s All American and was ranked as the No. 2 shooting guard in the 2014 class and the 14th best overall player.
Rick Pitino and his staff heavily offered Russell a scholarship early on in his high school career, but for whatever reason the interest was never really mutual. Russell maintained a relationship with the Louisville staff, but it never really appeared that he was all that interested in becoming a Cardinal.
There was speculation that Russell had been waiting for an offer from John Calipari at Kentucky, but that offer never came. It was considered somewhat of a surprise when Russell verbally committed to Thad Mata and Ohio State in June of 2013. The Buckeyes had been in the running, but Russell’s early commitment was somewhat unexpected.
There are plenty of Louisville natives and Cardinal fans that wish nothing but the best for Russell. That said, I’m sure they’ll be rooting against his Ohio State Buckeyes on Tuesday evening when they take on the Louisville Cardinals.<