Ohio State's 2014 basketball recruiting class is shaping up to be the latest excellent haul for head coach Thad Matta.
On Friday evening, five-star shooting guard D'Angelo Russell announced he would be attending OSU. He made the decision just days after returning from a visit to Columbus.
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Russell attends Montverde Academy in Florida, but is originally from Louisville. Interestingly, the Buckeyes beat out the Louisville Cardinals for Russell's services. Gordon Gee would be proud.
Russell had many other suitors, but it came down to a battle between OSU and UL. He also had offers from Arizona, Cincinnati, Indiana, Memphis, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Xavier and others.
Russell is ranked as the No. 4 shooting guard in the country in the 2014 class, per the 247Composite. He's also the No. 20 overall prospect.
Russell joins five-star small forward Keita Bates-Diop, four-star forward Jae'Sean Tate and four-star power forward/center Dave Bell in OSU's 2014 class.
At Montverde, Russell helped lead the team to a 25-2 record and the National High School Invitational championship. He had 10 points – including three straight three-pointers – in Montverde’s 67-65 championship game win over Findlay Prep.
This spring, Russell has played for the E1T1 AAU team. They have posted a 13-5 mark. Russell has played in 13 games and averaged 13.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
UPDATED at 11 p.m. Friday -- Here is our interview with Russell from Friday night:
Russell helped lead Montverde to a 25-2 record and the NHSI championship
Bucknuts: What was it about Ohio State that swung it for the Buckeyes?
Russell: “Just from all of the other schools, I didn’t feel like any other school was recruiting me as hard as they were. That’s something you could say.”
Bucknuts: Who were the main coaches you spoke with at OSU.
Russell: “It was Coach Matta and (assistant coach) Jeff Boals.”
Bucknuts: Who were the other top schools you were looking at?
Russell: “Louisville and Michigan State. That was it pretty much.”
Bucknuts: OSU verbal Jae’Sean Tate had talked about recruiting you to the school. Did you and he ever talk about that these last few months?
Russell: “Yeah, when I’d see him on the AAU circuit, we would sit down and he would always bring it up. We played against his team and he wasn’t even mad they lost. He was just focused on, ‘You’ve got to come to O-State with me.’
“When I was on my visit Monday, he came up and he said, ‘You’ve got to come, man. Let’s make it happen.’ I said, ‘I got you,’ and it just went on from there.”
Bucknuts: How does the OSU staff view you? Do they view you as a combo guard who can play the one or the two? How do you fit into the picture?
Russell: “Yes, I would say as a combo guard who can facilitate and also get his own points.”
Bucknuts: What has it meant for you to be at Montverde the last two years and to play national competition? You play it in the spring and summer but being there allows you to play it all year long.
Russell: “I definitely feel that if I had stayed at high school here in Louisville I would have gotten the big-time scholarships and the attention. But I don’t feel like I would be ready for the college level. Being at Montverde, I feel like it’s help prepare me as much as I could be. It’s the best decision I could have made.”
Bucknuts: What events do you plan to attend this month?
Russell: “I will be at the NBAPA Top 100 camp (next weekend). I will be at the Deron Willians and Kyrie Irving Skills Academy. I will probably be at the adidas Nation and I will be at the LeBron James Skills Academy (in July). Then, I will be at the Nike Global Challenge.
“Our team will be at the Nike Peach Jam and then we will go down to Florida (in July).”
Bucknuts: This OSU class is coming into focus with you and the three previous commitments. What are your thoughts on that class?
Russell: “I feel like they are coachable players and everybody’s attitudes are on the right track. We can work together as one.”
Steve Helwagen contributed to this report.
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