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May 21, 2013

Huskers still on radar for Rivals150 guard Russell

In the roped off section along the baseline of the Boo Williams Sportsplex court, Nebraska head coach Tim Miles and assistant Craig Smith sat along side some of the biggest coaching names in college basketball at the second session of the Nike EYBL circuit in Hampton, Va., trying to make sure D'Angelo Russell knew they were there.

Even next to coaches from traditional powers like North Carolina, Louisville, Indiana, Arizona and Michigan State, the Husker coaches accomplished their mission with the four-star 2014 shooting guard from Montverde (Fla.) Academy.

"I saw them when we were at Boo Williams," said Russell, who's currently ranked the No. 22 player in the country. "I just gave them a nod to let them know we were still on."

It was a small gesture, but the fact that a player of Russell's caliber still says Nebraska is in contention can only be viewed as a win for Miles and his staff. HuskerOnline.com caught up with Russell last week at the EYBL Session III in Dallas, and he said he and his father - who is handling the bulk of the contact with college coaches - have maintained a solid relationship with Miles and Smith since NU officially extended an offer back in early February.

Over the past few months, the 6-foot-4 native of Louisville, Ky., said he's learned quite a bit about Nebraska's program and some of the momentum the Huskers have building in Lincoln.

"I kind of looked into their history there, and I know it's a great school with new facilities," Russell said. "I know it's a great school, so I'm just going from there."

Now up to 17 offers, Russell said he has yet to even think about narrowing down his list of schools and continues to be open to all possible options. He said no school has been recruiting him harder than anyone else, but North Carolina, Florida, LSU and Georgetown were some of the most recent to offer.

They joined the likes of Arizona, Cincinnati, Indiana, Louisville, Memphis, Michigan State, Missouri, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Virginia and Xavier on Russell's impressive offer list.

"Like I've said, it's wide open, so I don't really have a list or anything," Russell said. "It's just different schools come after me every day. Not to sound cocky or anything, but I just don't think there's a school that's coming at me the hardest. Right now, I'm just taking it as slow as possible. I'm just waiting it out and letting my dad do most of the contact with the coaches and stuff like that."

This spring has been Russell's first experience on the EYBL circuit, which features of the the elite high school talent in the nation. Needless to say, he's more than held his own through the first three of four sessions, averaging 12.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.0 steals per game while leading Each 1 Teach 1 (E1T1) to a 9-4 record and first place in its division.

"It's been great," Russell said. "EYBL is a great adjustment. I feel like I should have been here all along. Just playing against the top competition every day, you have to stand out. Here, everybody is good, so it's been great. Every time we play, there's always somebody on the other team that has a name. Just knowing that you have to guard that player or that player has to guard you, you have to produce. It's a great experience."

While Nebraska still has a lot of work to do to remain on Russell's list once he finally does start narrowing things down, the Huskers will definitely has his attention this season.

"I know next year when the season comes I'll be paying attention to them a lot more," Russell said. "I'm interested to see how they do."

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