Few freshman were as dangerous this season as D’Angelo Russell, who led them all with 19.3 points per game, which also ranked 24th among all players. Russell was an offensive force for Ohio State, ranking in the Big Ten’s top 10 in scoring (second), assists (5.0; third), field goal percentage (44.9; eighth) and 3-point percentage (41.1; second). Though he scored just nine points (3-for-19) in the Buckeyes’ final contest against Arizona, Russell thrived in his prior postseason performances. The 19-year-old averaged 23.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in his first three Big Ten and NCAA tournament games.
- 19.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.6 spg, 44.9 FG%, 41.1 3P%
- First Team All-American
- Big Ten Freshman of the Year
- First Team All-Big Ten
Body Fat Percentage: 8.3
Hand Length (Inches): 8.75
Hand Width (Inches): 9.75
Height (Without Shoes): 6'3.25
Height (With Shoes): 6'5
Standing Reach: 8'6
ESPN's Fran Fraschilla: I would think (his biggest weakness) would be physical maturity at this point. He came to Ohio State not expecting to be a one-and-done guy. He wasn’t highly thought of. He was a top 25 recruit, but I don’t think anybody really expected the kind of freshman year he had.
I think just the physicalness of the game night in and night out as an NBA rookie; 82 games — one night guarding Russell Westbrook, the next night guarding Kyrie Irving, the next night guarding Chris Paul, and on and on — I think there’s going to be a little adjustment for him. Certainly the way talented point guards have adjusted to the league fairly quickly — I expect him to have an impact as a rookie, but I also think there’ll be a learning curve for him.
I would just simply say he’s the best passer. Maybe Ricky Rubio coming in from Spain would be in the same category, but (Russell) is the best passer I’ve seen in a decade. He throws passes to teammates that don’t even know they’re open, and that’s had hard to do.
ESPN's Tom Penn: He can shoot the ball, which (along with passing) is a nice combination in today’s NBA. He’s just a kid. He’s just got to tighten up and mature. But he’s got major superstar potential. Here at ESPN, we’ve got a very sophisticated advanced analytics group, and they put together a model on the best high-risk, high-reward kind of players — which is really what the top of the draft is all about — and he’s got the highest ceiling according to them.
He’s got a 15 percent chance to be an NBA superstar, which is that elite, rarest of talent. He’s also got, among the top 20 players in the draft, the highest bust potential because of concerns that his numbers are inflated based on the competition that he faced and the team that he was on. So I typically trust these analytics folks, and this is how advanced metrics sometimes come in.
If you’ve got the belief that some of these numbers make sense when you’re ranking highest-risk, highest-reward — he’s right there. And you’ve got to swing for the fences a little bit, because if you hit it, it’s a franchise-changer. And he has tremendous potential to have that happen.
ESPN's Chad Ford: The analytics are raising red flags about the fact that — as great as he is offensively — here are some concerns about him defensively and especially concerns that point to athleticism. And that’s why you’re seeing that disparity between “Could be the best player in the draft” and “Could be the biggest bust in the draft.” I don’t think he’s a bad athlete, but you look at so many great guards in this league and what terrific athletes they are. That’s going to be a big adjustment for him.