Aug. 8, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- In the Tennessee women's basketball "Meet The Rookies" spotlight this week is 6-foot-6 freshman Mercedes Russell, the 2013 Gatorade National Girls High School Basketball Player of the Year.
Russell, a three-time 5A state player of the year, hails from Springfield (Ore.) High School and was selected as the No. 1 player in the nation in 2013 by HoopGurlz/ESPNU and Women's Basketball Insider. Blue Star Basketball and Full Court both ranked her as the No. 2 player.
After averaging 25.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, 5.5 blocks, 3.9 assists and 2.0 steals as a senior, Russell was selected for the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago. All the new Lady Vol did was earn MVP honors by recording a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds in the contest.
She is joined by fellow Oregonian Jordan Reynolds (Portland/Central Catholic H.S.) in the freshman class at UT. The two were AAU teammates and also joined forces at the McDonald's All-American Game, where Reynolds also recorded a double-double (10 pts., 11 rebs.).
The highest ranked player to sign with Tennessee since Candace Parker in 2004, Russell will wear No. 21 at Rocky Top. You can follow her on Twitter via her handle: @MerSladezz