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July 9, 2013
Miami lands rising freshman wing
For most players getting ready to start their freshman year of high school, recruiting hasn't even begun. For D.J. Russell, his recruitment is already over.
A 6-foot-6 small forward who will attend Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day, Russell committed to Miami on Tuesday afternoon.
The decision is an early one, but it's one that he says he was ready to make.
"Their style fits me and I like how they let their wings and guards do what they do," Russell told Rivals.com. "I'm not worried about it being early. It's all about hard work on my end now."
Given that he has yet to start high school, Russell hasn't been seen by many. Those who have seen him mention that he's athletic, strong and already pretty skilled for a young wing with his size.
"I like to use my size and I score the ball very well," said Russell. "I have the 3-point shot down pretty well. I can defend, rebound and handle it a bit."
A member of the powerful Atlanta Celtics 15 and under squad coached by Emory Walton, Russell just upped the intrigue level for those looking to get a viewing of him.
While a commitment before entering high school is highly unusual, Russell isn't the first to make this type of leap.
Most recently class of 2014 four-star James Blackmon committed to Indiana before playing a game in his freshman year. UConn point guard Ryan Boatright initially committed to USC prior to his freshman year and before that Taylor King committed to UCLA before heading to Duke and transferring to Villanova before off the court problems ended his Division One career.
Russell is aware that his move is one that doesn't happen all that often but he and his family are convinced that he's ready. More than anything, he's glad to know he enters high school with a scholarship secure. Now, he'll focus on development.
"It's an amazing feeling," said Russell. "I just have to keep on working, I can never stop working."