Northern Arizona Head Coach Jack Murphy has signed six new players to join his first squad this fall. They have spent the summer in Flagstaff attending school and participating in new NCAA allowed summer workouts. Meet the Lumberjack newcomers to take the court this fall in the fourth of a series of six profiles. Today: Dewayne Russell.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Dewayne Russell was committed to a Pac-12 school and had offers across the nation from Hawaii to Niagara. But when Jack Murphy was named the head coach at Northern Arizona, he made a pitch to the state player of the year. When his recruiting status changed, NAU had one of the state's top players in Murphy's first class.
"I originally committed to USC," said Russell. "Coach Murphy was so real with me, telling me the truth and how things were going to be. I was really attracted (to NAU) and was the reason I came here."
Russell was named The Arizona Republic's Big School (Divisions I-II) Boys Basketball Player of the Year and to the All-Arizona Division II first-team after scoring an Arizona-best 27 points per game. He led his Peoria High School team to a 27-3 record and state Division II title under coach Michael Serwa while also notching 5.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 3.8 steals and making 66 percent of his three-pointers on the season.
"Dewayne is an outstanding athlete," said Murphy. "He has really put his head to the grindstone and worked hard to get better. I think the sky is the limit for Dewayne. He is getting stronger. The only thing he needs is strength because is quickness is already on par."
Russell has benefitted from having returning starter Stallon Saldivar to learn from during the summer work out process.
"Stallon helps with the little things," said Russell. "He has been around for a long time. He teaches me how to set the screens a little harder and doing the little things (to be successful)."
While soaking in everything he can, Russell is also adapting the challenge of a Division I college workout.
"It has been hard," said Russell. "I have never worked out this hard in my life. It is making all of us better. We have been doing some tough things."
He hopes to add to the Lumberjacks in any way he can. The Peoria High School product has a pass-first mentality of all good point guards and brings his ability to score when asked.
"I bring a leader at point guard," said Russell. "I like playing up and down and getting the crowd involved and finding my teammates. After I set my teammates up and the defense sags on me, I will start to score."
As for the pressure of being a high-profile in-state recruit with big credentials, Russell is not worried.
"I am not trying to worry about the pressure," said Russell. "I just want to win as many games as possible. I want to do whatever I have to do with the role (Coach Murphy) gives me. It is the biggest thing for me."
GET TO KNOW DEWAYNE RUSSELL
Born: February 10, 1994
What's on TV: ESPN, Comedy Central
In my IPod: Meek Millz, Wale
What I Drive: BMW
Favorite Flicks: He Got Game
What I'm Reading: Hunger Games
Superstitions: Never wear Mike and Adidas together
Worst habit: Watching to Much television
Love to trade places for a day with: Floyd Mayweather
Favorite City to Visit: Philadelphia
Favorite Team as a Kid: 2001 Philadelphia 76ers
Favorite athlete to watch in another sport: Floyd Mayweather
Favorite Value in Yourself: I got heart
For Dinner: Steak and potatoes
Talent I'd most like to have: To play tennis
Dream Date: Kim Kardashian
My greatest love: My Family
My hero: God
My motto: I get buckets