D’Angelo Russell to Ohio State, Wants Okafor to Join Him
Following his second visit to Ohio State on Monday, D’Angelo Russell had seen enough to pull the trigger.
“Just the environment pretty much turned me on,” the 6-foot-5, 185-pound shooting guard out of Montverde (FL) Academy told SNY.tv by phone. “I have a really good relationship with the coaching staff and I really feel like this was the best opportunity to be the best that I could be, and I feel like today was a really good day to decide.”
The No. 22 prospect in the Class of 2014 per Rivals, Russell returned from his second visit to Ohio State Monday. He said he also strongly considered Michigan State.
“I didn’t go through the process of cutting my list, but I built a good relationship with them,” he said. “Honestly, if anybody was closest to them it was probably Michigan State.”
A Louisville native, Russell helped Coach Kevin Boyle’s Montverde club win the ESPN NHSI in April, defeating Syracuse-bound Tyler Ennis and St. Benedict’s Prep, 67-65.
Asked what his role would be at Ohio State, Russell said head coach Thad Matta showed him how Mike Conley and Evan Turner played as Buckeyes.
“He just said he could see me being a playmaker and being able to do a lot,” Russell said.
Russell said his next order of business would be trying to convince Chicago big man Jahlil Okafor to join him.
“I’m most definitely trying to recruit Jahlil Okafor,” he said.
Asked if he had reached out to Okafor yet, he said, “I’ve pretty much shut my phone down. I haven’t really paid attention to any of the social media or any of that.”
Okafor is on record saying he wants to play college ball with Minnesota point guard Tyus Jones, and many believe Duke is the favorite.
Still, Ohio State is in the mix for both, along with Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State and Baylor.
Asked if he would work on Jones too, Russell said, “Probably not Tyus, but definitely Jahlil.”
With his senior year ahead of him, Russell is glad the process is over with.
“Definitely, I feel like it helps me prepare for being there now,” he said. “It’s setting up from now, trying to step on the court now and just prepare to be ready for it.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.