Daron Russell: Incoming Rhody PG Plans to Make A Mark in A-10 as Freshman

Photo courtesy of Penn Live.com.

By David Cordova

In the city of Philadelphia, there have been plenty of tough guards, especially in the Class of 2017. No matter how small or tall they were, they always played smart and played to win. But there was one diminutive point guard that didn’t get all of the accolades, but still made plenty of noise.

Daron Russell is a guard that needs no introduction. The 5-foot-10 point guard from Imhotep Charter High School has been one of the city’s top prospects for the last couple of years. He has a lot of passion for the game and is a player that plays with that textbook Philly-style toughness and is very efficient at running a team.

“I kind of motivate myself, but I just want to be successful in life, period. And I feel that this is going to get me somewhere, I could possibly make money with basketball. So I’m just really striving for myself and to get my family in a better place.”

Nike EYBL Session 2 in Hampton, VA.
Russell dribbles down the court for Team Final during Session 3 of the Nike EYBL in Hampton, Virginia. (Photo courtesy of Nike/Position Sports)

He’s not the only hooper in the household. His older brother, DeWayne Russell, just finished a successful career at Grand Canyon University, a Division I school that plays in the WAC. At one point in the 2016-17 season, the elder Russell was one of the top scorers in the country in the NCAA.

One thing that the brothers have in common, is the willpower to battle and grind for whatever they needed, which is something they learned in their hometown of Philadelphia. “It’s always tough. It’s a lot of haters in Philly, but once you find a good core, you’re all good.” says Russell of being from the City of Brotherly Love.

On what it takes to be a point guard in Philly: “It takes mental toughness. You have to block out all of the criticism and hate that’s happening and you just gotta do what you gotta do on the court.”

At Imhotep Charter, Russell was the lead guard that led the Panthers to two Public League championships as a junior and senior and then this season, to District XII title and also a PIAA Class 4A state title. He also averaged 18 points per game.

This year’s Imhotep Charter team made waves around the country, finishing with a 31-2 record and a No. 5 national ranking in the USA Today poll. Russell was also complemented by two other seniors in forward Koby Thomas, who will be playing for Robert Morris University in the fall and guard David Beatty, bound for South Carolina, who made it to the NCAA Final Four this season, as well as a sophomore in Donta Scott, a forward who will be one of the city’s best next season.

As he leaves Imhotep Charter, he has nothing but fond memories of the school. “It’s more than just a basketball program for me, it’s like a family. I love every coach on the coaching staff, even like our principal, I have a very good relationship with her, so it’s more than just basketball for me.”

Also, during his time with Team Final, he impressed plenty of college coaches, averaging 21.4 points, four assists and 2.2 steals at the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina during the summer of 2016.

Nike EYBL Session 2 in Hampton, VA.
Russell goes up to the rim for two points during Session 3 of the 2016 Nike EYBL in Hampton, Virginia. (Photo courtesy of Nike/Position Sports)

But his recruiting came to an end last fall on September 20th, when he made his commitment to the University of Rhode Island. When asked about why he chose the A-10 school, he replied, “Coach Hurley, he’s a terrific person. Coach Cox too. I mean, they did a great job recruiting me and they kept it real with me during the beginning.”

And as for what you can expect from him next season as a freshman in the Atlantic 10 Conference, “I’m just gonna bring a winning mentality, I expect to win every time I step on the court.”

He will join a Rams program that went 25-10 last season and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where they would lose to Oregon. Next season, Russell is poised to make an impact for the Rams. If there is one thing that is certain, it’s that the kid they call “Fatts,” will always show out.

Highlights of Daron Russell:

Courtesy of Jay Doe Films.

Courtesy of BLF Sports.

Courtesy of Rivals.com

Courtesy of PennLive.com

Courtesy of BLF Sports.

Courtesy of BLF Sports.

Courtesy of 8Eye Media.

Courtesy of PennLive.com

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