Lady Vols signee Mercedes Russell named MVP of McDonald's All-American game

McDonald's West All-American's Mercedes Russell, right, a Tennessee signee, celebrates with Kailee Johnson during the second half of the McDonald's All-American girls basketball game in Chicago, Wednesday, April 3, 2013. Russell was named the game's MVP as the McDonald's West All-Americans won 92-64. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

McDonald's West All-American's Mercedes Russell, right, a Tennessee signee, celebrates with Kailee Johnson during the second half of the McDonald's All-American girls basketball game in Chicago, Wednesday, April 3, 2013. Russell was named the game's MVP as the McDonald's West All-Americans won 92-64. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO (AP) — Mercedes Russell had 16 points and had 12 rebounds to lead the West to a 92-64 win over the East in the girls McDonald's All-American game at the United Center on Wednesday night.

The Tennessee signee was voted the game's MVP.

"I couldn't have done it without my teammates" said Russell, a 6-foot-5 forward. "We've been working really hard in practices, but I couldn't have done it without them."

The West jumped out to a 20-10 lead behind Tyler Scaife's seven points. Rebecca Greenwell extended the lead to 31-13 on a 3-pointer. The Duke signee came up limping after being fouled on a layup attempt with 3:28 left in the half. She did not return and finished with eight points, going 2 for 3 from 3-point range.

"It's painful, but it's not excruciating, it's nothing new, it's something I have dealt with this whole season," Greenwell said. "I think I am going to have an MRI soon. Before I even hurt it I had arthroscopic surgery scheduled for Tuesday because I had this ongoing knee problem all season."

Scaife, the player of the year from Arkansas, finished with 15 points and four assists.

Kaela Davis, whose brother A.J. signed with Tennessee and who are both the children of former NBA player Antonio Davis, led the East with 10 points in the first half.

Diamond DeShields, the daughter of former major leaguer Delino DeShields, had 15 points and Makayla Epps added 13 for the East. DeShields has signed to play at North Carolina and Epps is going to Kentucky.

North Carolina had the most All-Americans with three. DeShields played with Stephanie Mavunga and against future Tar Heel Jessica Washington.

"That was a good feeling. I am so proud of having a recruiting class of three McDonald's All-Americans," DeShields said. "To know that I will be going to the next level to play with those two girls is pretty exciting."

The East managed to get within 10 points at the end of the first half on a layup by Taya Reimer. Voted female player of the year, She is headed to Notre Dame.

Alaina Coates had back-to-back baskets for the East to get within 53-45 early in the second half, but the West answered with an 11-0 run, capped by Linnae Harper's layup. The Rutgers commit attends Whitney Young High School, which is just blocks from the United Center.

"I'm just lost for words to play in Chicago, in my hometown in front of my fans and friends," Harper said. "I am really excited and it just hit me this is my last high school game."

Russell led the West in the first half with eight points and seven rebounds.

Davis finished with 10 points.

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Comments » 33

HooRay_Vol writes:

Awesome. Here comes the next Candace Parker.

cheetah-vol writes:

Glad she's gonna be on our side! Nice job for the newbie Lady Vol!

DC82_Vol writes:

I really want to see the continued growth of our young team. Ms. Russell will be a welcome addition. I wish we had a Skylar Diggins type player that can take over a game.

chattabluetick writes:

I can't remember how high Graves was ranked but Russell is not the No. 1 player in the country for no reason. I see her playing quite a bit right out of the gate. Guess we will see just how great. With the top class in the country I expect the Lady Vols to be seriously challenging to add more trophies to the case.

SummittsCourt writes:

She will be the next great Lady Vol basketball player. If you haven't seen her play... just wait!

HanQ7 writes:

I think everyone is sleeping on Jannah Tucker. She was hurt her senior year and didnt play. She would have been a McDonalds AA, and will have something to prove. I think she will emerge as the sleeper, the girl is awesome! IF she comes in and do what I think she will.... This team should be competing for championships again!!!!

jack4444 writes:

Russell needs to bulk up, gain strength. She got pushed around bigtime underneath.

madrigal writes:

I watched the game, and Russell looked good. She kind of made me think of a Michelle Snow/Candace Parker cross, willowy like Michelle but better moves. Jordan Reynolds looked mighty good too--she's fast! Kaela Davis looked super but now that I know who her mom is, I'm glad she's GA Tech's problem. We've already had a stage dad.....

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

I believe all three frosh will make a impact. Scheduling will be a key factor as how well we play in post season because we will rip through the SEC. I bet we beat SEC teams by an average of 15-20pts . But to compete on the elite level I would like Russell to develop fast to be as good or better than the top bigs in the league . Just because Griner is gone doesn't mean there isn't good teams out there. Out the gate I have our girls ranked #2 behind Uconn followed by Duke,UNC , and Stanford. I think Draya will be the scrappy player we need to be extremely tough on defense

Volinflan writes:

in response to REVOLUTION:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree with almost everything you said in your post. Especially, the part about being a freshman. M-Lewis didn't dominate as a freshman the way she did this year. At the beginning of the year, B Stewart didn't really start to show the brilliance she has showed the last couple of games. On the good part, by tournament time next year, Russell will probably be a big factor in all games. I too look forward (expect) to see a first game starting lineup (barring injuries or defections)of Graves, Izzy, Carter, Burdick and Simmons. Those shoulder operations can do bad things to ROM (range of motion, )been there, done that)). Hopefully Carter can return to the form she showed at the beginning of this season. As for Reynolds and Tucker, the first one that can shoot 40% of threes and 50% from the field will be getting a lot of playing time. (I put more importance to playing time than I do on Starting Lineup.) Counting Carter, we'll have three freshman guards next season. Hopefully, we'll get a good defensive point and a more reliable two guard out of the three-some.

Volinflan writes:

in response to maxvolfan#217855:

I believe all three frosh will make a impact. Scheduling will be a key factor as how well we play in post season because we will rip through the SEC. I bet we beat SEC teams by an average of 15-20pts . But to compete on the elite level I would like Russell to develop fast to be as good or better than the top bigs in the league . Just because Griner is gone doesn't mean there isn't good teams out there. Out the gate I have our girls ranked #2 behind Uconn followed by Duke,UNC , and Stanford. I think Draya will be the scrappy player we need to be extremely tough on defense

The Schimmel sisters have proven that Louisville needs to be in that group you mentioned.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

Shame on the author of this article by not mentioning the fact that Jordan Reynolds also had a double double and guess where she'll be playing next year.

ladyvolsfan789 writes:

Based on the short video ESPN's recruiting site had on Russell I think they player she reminds me most of right now is Chiney Ogwumike perhaps trading a bit of aggressiveness on the glass for more shot blocking ability. I'm really looking forward to Tennessee's post game next year. Graves, Harrison, and Russell are all good and they each have their own different style in the post. We're going to be a nightmare to defend next year.

wigmeister writes:

With the recruits coming in, can only improve! Barring injury, we should have plenty of talent to sit someone that is not playing up to snuff in a game. None of our players come close to what Parker was. She was awesome at all positions, and made all the players around her better. Unselfish, but selfish when she needed to be.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to DC82_Vol:

I really want to see the continued growth of our young team. Ms. Russell will be a welcome addition. I wish we had a Skylar Diggins type player that can take over a game.

Can post players not dominate a game?

volman2008 writes:

in response to REVOLUTION:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

simmons plays no DEFENSE .

UTFAN1993 writes:

WHAT IF.......................

what if U.T. had a player that had the same % of accuracy on 3 pt shooting as

that of the best shooting 3 pt ""TEAM"" IN THE NATION.

Let's see...if she shot 69 of 189 and had an accuracy of .365%....she would only need to have been 77 of 189 to be the same % as THE BEST IN THE NATION

which was Duke @ 40.5% as a team.

WOW just 8 shots better for the entire 35 game season.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Volinflan:

I agree with almost everything you said in your post. Especially, the part about being a freshman. M-Lewis didn't dominate as a freshman the way she did this year. At the beginning of the year, B Stewart didn't really start to show the brilliance she has showed the last couple of games. On the good part, by tournament time next year, Russell will probably be a big factor in all games. I too look forward (expect) to see a first game starting lineup (barring injuries or defections)of Graves, Izzy, Carter, Burdick and Simmons. Those shoulder operations can do bad things to ROM (range of motion, )been there, done that)). Hopefully Carter can return to the form she showed at the beginning of this season. As for Reynolds and Tucker, the first one that can shoot 40% of threes and 50% from the field will be getting a lot of playing time. (I put more importance to playing time than I do on Starting Lineup.) Counting Carter, we'll have three freshman guards next season. Hopefully, we'll get a good defensive point and a more reliable two guard out of the three-some.

What I see as the biggest plus with Russell coming in next year is that whether she starts right away or not, if we lose a post for an extended period like we lost Izzy this year, there should be a quality replacement for her. When Izzy was out, Bashaara had to be careful not to get in foul trouble and they couldn't afford to rest her when necessary, or the LVs would have had essentially NO posts. I love what Bashaara and Izzy have done and think they should be even better next year as long as they can stay healthy. If Mercedes is good enough to push one of them for starting time, so much the better; if not, she can still be a vital cog in a reborn LV machine!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to volman2008:

simmons plays no DEFENSE .

Totally wrong. She isn't exactly a defensive "stopper", but she is no worse than Massengale for example. That is perhaps faint praise, and goodness knows the whole team's defense HAS to get better, but arguably the only SEC player who scores nearly as much as Simmons and ALSO plays better defense is probably Mathes of UK. I know some people are down on Meighan, but, with respect, they are letting what they don't like about her influence their opinion of what she is as a whole package.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to UTFAN1993:

WHAT IF.......................

what if U.T. had a player that had the same % of accuracy on 3 pt shooting as

that of the best shooting 3 pt ""TEAM"" IN THE NATION.

Let's see...if she shot 69 of 189 and had an accuracy of .365%....she would only need to have been 77 of 189 to be the same % as THE BEST IN THE NATION

which was Duke @ 40.5% as a team.

WOW just 8 shots better for the entire 35 game season.

You are on a ROLL, buddy! If some other posters would try as hard as you do to argue from facts instead of purely subjective opinions, this board would be a lot more informative and useful...in my OWN purely subjective opinion(;-P)!

reg_mza#219136 writes:

Liked what I saw in the McDonalds AA game. I can see where the staff will really need to get her up to speed on the footwork, positioning, and what it takes to fight at the upper echelon women's game level in order for her to be successful.

I think Russell had it easy compared to what is to come and she didn't always have to scrap for constant position, didn't have to be more measured in her approach, and didn't have to shift accordingly as things just fell to her as she towered over girls far smaller than her.

I think she'll be a better shooting, softer touch version of Nicki Anosike when she gets well grounded in what is expected of her.

UTFAN1993 writes:

don't forget to wish our ""other""

MERCEDES, A Happy Birthday tomorrow.

22 y/o Kamiko MERCEDES Williams

UTFAN1993 writes:

a 2 run-shot out of the park by Akamine

UT 10 UGA 3 Let's Go LV

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

Jordan Reynolds or Draya Carter will be starting point guards next year. Watch for it.

Volinflan writes:

in response to reg_mza#219136:

Liked what I saw in the McDonalds AA game. I can see where the staff will really need to get her up to speed on the footwork, positioning, and what it takes to fight at the upper echelon women's game level in order for her to be successful.

I think Russell had it easy compared to what is to come and she didn't always have to scrap for constant position, didn't have to be more measured in her approach, and didn't have to shift accordingly as things just fell to her as she towered over girls far smaller than her.

I think she'll be a better shooting, softer touch version of Nicki Anosike when she gets well grounded in what is expected of her.

For sure in the MacDonalds's game there isn't much defense. Seems like Russell was shooting uncontested shots way above the rest of the court. Won't be that way in college. With someone her height, experience and a few years in the weight room, pushing her around she'll probably have to adjust. Looking forward to seeing it though.

Speaking of that, it's going to be a long summer. Soon, we'll get down to a Lady Vols announcement every few days about things not directly related to the players on "this". I guess it'll pick back up about October. What are us die hard people gonna do? Search all the web sites looking for news about "comittments" coming from somebody for somewhere? Doing our own "fantasy" recruiting league? I personally am going to miss it.

Volinflan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

What I see as the biggest plus with Russell coming in next year is that whether she starts right away or not, if we lose a post for an extended period like we lost Izzy this year, there should be a quality replacement for her. When Izzy was out, Bashaara had to be careful not to get in foul trouble and they couldn't afford to rest her when necessary, or the LVs would have had essentially NO posts. I love what Bashaara and Izzy have done and think they should be even better next year as long as they can stay healthy. If Mercedes is good enough to push one of them for starting time, so much the better; if not, she can still be a vital cog in a reborn LV machine!

Yes I agree with you that the Lady Vols were harmfully thin at Posts this year. Graves spent most of the season playing post when she is a forward. How good could she have been if she could have played her position all season? With Harrison, Russell and Moore in the center, maybe we'll see Graves, Burdick and Jones playing aggressively with, as you pointed out, not having the fear of picking up a foul.

I've watched every minute of every game (2-3 times when possible) but my memory is clouded. Can Bashaara drive from the top of the Key effectively? Seems to me most of her points was hard fought baskets down under.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Volinflan:

Yes I agree with you that the Lady Vols were harmfully thin at Posts this year. Graves spent most of the season playing post when she is a forward. How good could she have been if she could have played her position all season? With Harrison, Russell and Moore in the center, maybe we'll see Graves, Burdick and Jones playing aggressively with, as you pointed out, not having the fear of picking up a foul.

I've watched every minute of every game (2-3 times when possible) but my memory is clouded. Can Bashaara drive from the top of the Key effectively? Seems to me most of her points was hard fought baskets down under.

Good post, as usual. I don't think we yet know what ALL Graves can do since she is still just a freshman. She seems to have pretty good post fundamentals and we already know she is one of the hardest workers on the team. I think she still needs to have a better perimeter shot to be effective farther out on the court. I say this because she is still only a so-so free-throw shooter. Usually good free-throw shooters are also good from the perimeter, and vice-versa. I haven't seen her handle it enough on the perimeter to have a good feel for her ability to take it in from any distance, though she does run the floor well.

I was sorry we didn't get to see more of Moore this year, considering how thin the LVs were in the post. I hope she really works hard to get bigger and stronger and wasn't discouraged by not getting more action this year. I think the six players you listed have the potential to be the most dominant frontcourt in all of women's basketball next year, and for another couple after that!

As you say, I will miss conversing regularly with everybody else on here. It's always great to see what you have to say. I couldn't name everybody I have enjoyed on here, but suffice it to say that would include almost everybody. Some, not so much. I'm always willing to meet anybody halfway. Sorry if I have offended anybody. I would hope we are all seekers of "truth" on here, we just need to remember that not all of what we think or feel can be rightly included in the category of things that CAN be judged in such absolute terms.

Volinflan writes:

From season to season some of the "regulars" go away. What happened to "PinkChamphange". Besides being an informative person, a lot of their comments were fun. And I'll be honest Mike in Corrs came back with some classy and knowledgeable comments. Mike, next year we'll see you in the final four. Looking forward to seeing Stewart and Russel play against each other down under.

"Sorry if I have offended anybody. I would hope we are all seekers of "truth" on here, we just need to remember that not all of what we think or feel can be rightly included in the category of things that CAN be judged in such absolute terms. ---Johnig00

Not me, some of them are just trolls and an insult or two occasionally are approprirate.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Volinflan:

From season to season some of the "regulars" go away. What happened to "PinkChamphange". Besides being an informative person, a lot of their comments were fun. And I'll be honest Mike in Corrs came back with some classy and knowledgeable comments. Mike, next year we'll see you in the final four. Looking forward to seeing Stewart and Russel play against each other down under.

"Sorry if I have offended anybody. I would hope we are all seekers of "truth" on here, we just need to remember that not all of what we think or feel can be rightly included in the category of things that CAN be judged in such absolute terms. ---Johnig00

Not me, some of them are just trolls and an insult or two occasionally are approprirate.

Well, I was just trying to be kind in giving a "troll" the benefit of the doubt in case he/she was actually a well-intentioned person who just temporarily forgot his/her manners(;-P)! I too have played "whack-a-troll" on occasion, but I am reminded of the old saying about wrestling with pigs; all that happens is that you get mud on you and the pig LIKES it that way.

martic#220796 writes:

in response to UTFAN1993:

WHAT IF.......................

what if U.T. had a player that had the same % of accuracy on 3 pt shooting as

that of the best shooting 3 pt ""TEAM"" IN THE NATION.

Let's see...if she shot 69 of 189 and had an accuracy of .365%....she would only need to have been 77 of 189 to be the same % as THE BEST IN THE NATION

which was Duke @ 40.5% as a team.

WOW just 8 shots better for the entire 35 game season.

??

martic#220796 writes:

in response to Volinflan:

For sure in the MacDonalds's game there isn't much defense. Seems like Russell was shooting uncontested shots way above the rest of the court. Won't be that way in college. With someone her height, experience and a few years in the weight room, pushing her around she'll probably have to adjust. Looking forward to seeing it though.

Speaking of that, it's going to be a long summer. Soon, we'll get down to a Lady Vols announcement every few days about things not directly related to the players on "this". I guess it'll pick back up about October. What are us die hard people gonna do? Search all the web sites looking for news about "comittments" coming from somebody for somewhere? Doing our own "fantasy" recruiting league? I personally am going to miss it.

Amen to the long summer. Win or lose I always feel that let down after the season is over. Searching desperately for any kind of news on our basketball lady vols. I try to keep up with the baseball some but it isn't covered as thoroughly either. I had signed up for Govols247 until I found out it didn't cover recruitment for the lady vols so I dropped it. I guess we'll be picking this up again 'round Oct ):

vol4life1983 writes:

in response to HanQ7:

I think everyone is sleeping on Jannah Tucker. She was hurt her senior year and didnt play. She would have been a McDonalds AA, and will have something to prove. I think she will emerge as the sleeper, the girl is awesome! IF she comes in and do what I think she will.... This team should be competing for championships again!!!!

I totally agree because in my opinion she will have the most impact of anyone player coming in. This girl is a baller and if she develop over time she will be a maya moore type superstar

vol4life1983 writes:

If Jannah Tucker come in and play like I think she should then she will be taking somebody's starting spot! This young lady is the real deal!

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