Russell was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Antonio Russell and Keisha Rowe. He has four siblings: Antonio Russell, Lashaun Gilliam, Tayshaun Brown and Cloee Russell. He attended Central High School in Louisville, Kentucky, as a freshman before transferring to Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida. Russell helped Monteverde to a 27-2 record as a junior before going 28-0 as a senior, leading the team to the National High School Invitational championship both years. He later played in the McDonald's All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic. As a member of the Lakers, Russell was heavily involved in the community, participating in the Kaiser Permanente Fit For Life Health Clinic, the Salvation Army Turkey Giveaway and the Challengers Boys & Girls Club court renovation. He also helped the Lakers Youth Foundation put on Camp Lakers during the offseason. Learn more about Russell by following him on Twitter (@DLoading) and on Instagram (@dloading). Despite growing up in Louisville, Russell decided to attend Ohio State for one season. The 6-foot-4 guard scored 32 points and added nine rebounds and five assists in his third game of the season, giving a taste of what was to come. He averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists, helping the Buckeyes to 24 wins. He had all of his double-doubles in a three-week span of Big Ten play and concluded the stretch with a triple-double (23 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) in a road win over Rutgers. Russell scored a season-high 33 points with seven rebounds and six assists in a win over Northwestern. The freshman won Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors and was a consensus All-American First Team member. In the NCAA Tournament, he had 28 points to help Ohio State beat VCU in the first round before the team lost in the second round to Arizona. After his freshman season, Russell declared for the 2015 NBA Draft and was selected with the second overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers.