Mercedes Russell named Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year

During her recruitment, Tennessee signee Mercedes Russell made clear her admiration for Candace Parker.

The future Lady Vol now has something significant in common with the former UT star. Russell received the Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award on Wednesday. Parker was a two-time recipient (2003-04).

Russell, a 6-foot-5 center from Springfield (Ore.) High, was surprised with the news at her school by Maya Moore, another former Gatorade honoree. The former University of Connecticut star has won a WNBA championship with Minnesota and an Olympic gold medal.

“I was in my psychology class and we were in the gym doing a hand-eye coordination exercise,” Russell said. “I had my back to the door when they walked in. I was definitely shocked.”

The award, which is a collaboration with USA Today high school sports, recognizes athletics, along with academics and character.

“It means a lot to me; it’s very exciting,” Russell said.

Russell, who signed a letter of intent with Tennessee last November, averaged 25.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, 5.5 blocks, 3.9 assists and two steals per game this season. She finished her prep career with 2,273 points, 1,642 rebounds and 562 blocks.

Russell has a 3.15 grade point average. She has volunteered on behalf of Oregon amateur basketball, Special Olympics, a community beautification project and an elementary education literacy outreach program.

Russell now is a finalist for Gatorade’s female high school athlete of the year award, which will be presented at a special ceremony in July, prior to the ESPYs.

Russell said that she intends to be on campus in June to attend summer school.

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Comments » 41

fake_basketball writes:

Is she afraid of UCONN too?

SummittsCourt writes:

Can't Wait! Congrats Ms. Russell - more accolades awaits you at UT.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

Is she afraid of UCONN too?

No one is afraid of UConn-vict!

Theo writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

Is she afraid of UCONN too?

No - only female referees are afraid of UConn. When does Geno go on trial?

Theo writes:

Great honor! Congratulations Mercedes, student, athlete, citizen, this is a Lady Vol.
The future is bright my friends.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to Theo:

No - only female referees are afraid of UConn. When does Geno go on trial?

I believe he paid his way out of that trial. Cheater Geno knows no shame. I will go to my grave believing the reason Elana Dell Donne left UCan't is because of what he said/did.

wildmed writes:

Yes, Lady Vol recruiting is in good hands! She could be a force in the middle!

fake_basketball writes:

The LV's keeping getting these "GREAT" recruits but can't make it back to the final four.

Sweet writes:

anybody done their picks for women's final four??? I think it will be Baylor Stanford, ND and UConn with Baylor and UConn for championship. We get put out by Baylor

fake_basketball writes:

LOL...no one does a women's bracket.

SoddyVol writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

Is she afraid of UCONN too?

If (important) Izzy can get completely healthy, I would be overjoyed to see The Vols play Uconn. Why should any Tenn player be afraid of UConn especially since Tenn Lady Vols BEAT UConn the last Three times they played? Two of those games were in Connecticut and middle one in Tennessee, all since 2005, NOT last century.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

Is she afraid of UCONN too?

Hey folks, don't you just love it when these (closet Lady Vol) fan can't keep from posting on these web sites. They probably shudder in fear when someone mentions Notre Dame.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

Guys, you won't normally see me say this, as some consider me a troll...
please don't feed trolls who are just yanking chains.

It makes us real trolls look really bad.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

As with every other female post player, her career will rest entirely upon her knees.

Ms. Russell, should someone have your ear: do all you can to build that leg strength, and best wishes.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to emailnodata:

As with every other female post player, her career will rest entirely upon her knees.

Ms. Russell, should someone have your ear: do all you can to build that leg strength, and best wishes.

It's not really about leg strength though that does matter. It is more about flexibility. Women are built different and therefore being more flexible is the key. Neither male nor female are built to be basketball players but men have the advantage of not being child bearers so you see less damage done to their knees than women. Though men can damage their knees too. Because women are child bearers their legs grow out at an angle while men's legs crow straight. It's slight, but the difference is there and it is one of the main reasons women have trouble with their knees, especially tall women. Well, at least that is what I am told for what it is worth.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

LOL...no one does a women's bracket.

Oh, so you've met everyone on earth and they told you they don't do women's brackets? Not only are you stupid you are a liar and a fake period. You are also a sexist nutbag.

Check out espn's bracketology on the women's side.

JSmith525 writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

Is she afraid of UCONN too?

I'd bet she could kick your arse without breaking a sweat!

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

It's not really about leg strength though that does matter. It is more about flexibility. Women are built different and therefore being more flexible is the key. Neither male nor female are built to be basketball players but men have the advantage of not being child bearers so you see less damage done to their knees than women. Though men can damage their knees too. Because women are child bearers their legs grow out at an angle while men's legs crow straight. It's slight, but the difference is there and it is one of the main reasons women have trouble with their knees, especially tall women. Well, at least that is what I am told for what it is worth.

What you say is correct, but the leg strength comes into play for energy absorption.

It's a complex interaction, but, basically, too much energy gets trranferred to the ACL by certain actions.

Correct, though, Leg strength alone won't stop the issue.

HanQ7 writes:

Any news on the progress of Jannah Tucker?

golfman1975 writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

Is she afraid of UCONN too?

At 6'5" I doubt she is scared of anyone...why don't you go tell her to her face and see what happens.

golfman1975 writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

The LV's keeping getting these "GREAT" recruits but can't make it back to the final four.

Fake? You are truly a fake...human, fan and even a bad troll.

Theo writes:

in response to emailnodata:

Guys, you won't normally see me say this, as some consider me a troll...
please don't feed trolls who are just yanking chains.

It makes us real trolls look really bad.

Yep, emnod, when I think of you I think trollll city. LOL.
How is your kiddos knee coming along? Did she get on the court this year? Hope it hasn't impacted her recruitment too much. UT has signed several kids who had knee injuries and didn't play their senior year and it worked out great. I think one of this year's recruits is rehabbing a knee.

VolAlumbutBamaFootballFan writes:

I'm still wondering about when the guy who plays for Baylor will be outed.
SEMPER FI!

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

How refreshing to open GoVolsxtra..........and after seeing the leadoff batter was a freakin troll.........( appropriately named ) 'fake basketball'........this idiot was followed up in the batting order by intelligent people. And, those are Jsmith, Summitts court, Theo, golfman, snowpea, wildmed, soddy vol, etc.

Pity the trolls who venture onto this site as a result of their insecurity and ignorance.

It's also nice to know Vol fans can agree and disagree here, but we don't have to crawl onto someone else's site. For instance, U K with its
demise with Robert Morris. No need to go to their site..........they are suffering enough as it is.

Go Vols and Lady Vols

jt45 writes:

Looking forward to seeing Mercedes in orange next fall and hope she makes an immediate impact for the LVs.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to Theo:

Yep, emnod, when I think of you I think trollll city. LOL.
How is your kiddos knee coming along? Did she get on the court this year? Hope it hasn't impacted her recruitment too much. UT has signed several kids who had knee injuries and didn't play their senior year and it worked out great. I think one of this year's recruits is rehabbing a knee.

Theo,
she just finished soph year of college.

Last year was really good, this year hampered by an injury to the other knee (no surgery).

From what I've seen, the more athletic the player, the more the risk.

ps11824 writes:

Looks like UConn has a walk in the park to the final 4. We'll see. The games must be played, but as far as I can figure, they have the path of least resistance.

LVFL90 writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

The LV's keeping getting these "GREAT" recruits but can't make it back to the final four.

Stay tuned, Junior.

tovolny writes:

What if Maya Moore had followed her first choice (?)...One fabricated lie that closed one door and robbed a coach of several victories and championships, and may have launched another to heights not deserved. Most know that about what I speak.
And, would it have been too much to have had CP3 deliver the news? Does anyone think some recruiting ploys might have been cleverly concocted here? The man about whom we are referring cannot be trusted. I bet the big guy is worried because ill-gotten-gains have a way of being revealed at a bad time. But we now have a clever lever that would dim a bright show to a barely glow. Oh, the web that has been woven, now haunts because we have chosen to let it slide. Yes, we still have pride.
Mercedes will love it here…and we will love her. I can hardly wait.
GO BIG ORANGE!

Pompey writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

The LV's keeping getting these "GREAT" recruits but can't make it back to the final four.

.....Baylor has a center who is a man....what are you fake...hummm..?

Theo writes:

in response to emailnodata:

Theo,
she just finished soph year of college.

Last year was really good, this year hampered by an injury to the other knee (no surgery).

From what I've seen, the more athletic the player, the more the risk.

Well I was certainly a day late there. I thought she was currently going through recruiting. Glad it has turned out well for her.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

At work taking a break and reading up on Russell. Man if she can be as good or better than players like E.Williams, Dolson, or Plaisaisa (LSU) look for us to dominate . There's some good bigs in the game so Russell's development has to come quick for us to get back to the final four. Expectations are still high . Cant wait for Sat.

Vol-TIL-I-FaLL writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

The LV's keeping getting these "GREAT" recruits but can't make it back to the final four.

it jus scares the heck out of alot of people when they see the team they fear the most finally land the position that means the most on a team that was really only that position short to do big things huh..see (baylor)..and my question to you is, does it scare you this much seeing her come to the one place that will take back over with a true center for the female game..seeing that they already have alot of good young position and role players thatll be even better under the coach many thought would finally let our vol nation down..NOT! get your life together..

johnlg00 writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

The LV's keeping getting these "GREAT" recruits but can't make it back to the final four.

Fake human being. Crawl back under your rock.

volboy81 writes:

Great honor for Mercedes. Best of luck at UT. These next 4 years should be fun. Back to the Top...just like in football!
I just wish she had of had the pleasure of being presented the trophy by an honorable player...

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to maxvolfan#217855:

At work taking a break and reading up on Russell. Man if she can be as good or better than players like E.Williams, Dolson, or Plaisaisa (LSU) look for us to dominate . There's some good bigs in the game so Russell's development has to come quick for us to get back to the final four. Expectations are still high . Cant wait for Sat.

Dolson has improved every single year; she's the best all-round post in America this year.

E. Williams I saw in HS...very dominant, athletic, intelligent. She's just a darn good kid. Dolson is better all-around, but E-Will is a fine player.

You and me both love the kid from LSU. She does all the traditional post play very well.

I think Russell will do just fine, because the load won't be placed on her to carry the team.Graves, Burdick, and Harrison are all quality players who won't yield time without a fight, plus Holly will ensure things get done "right" in terms of earning that time.

madrigal writes:

emnd, gotta disagree with you a little on Dolson. She's in the general model of UConn centers, big, thuggish, and a little slow. Not to say they are bad players, but many of them have been slow movers. I remember back when Kara Wolters was always tripping over her feet. I have only seen Elizabeth Williams once this season and all I can say is, if she keeps getting better, Lord help the ACC. She is, after all, only a freshman.

airship writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

The LV's keeping getting these "GREAT" recruits but can't make it back to the final four.

AMAN

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to madrigal:

emnd, gotta disagree with you a little on Dolson. She's in the general model of UConn centers, big, thuggish, and a little slow. Not to say they are bad players, but many of them have been slow movers. I remember back when Kara Wolters was always tripping over her feet. I have only seen Elizabeth Williams once this season and all I can say is, if she keeps getting better, Lord help the ACC. She is, after all, only a freshman.

Williams is a sophomore.

Dolson has added an outside game and is a tremendous passer.

I don't measure basketball players by the eye-test, I measure them by what they get done on the court. I like Williams, but right now Dolson has the edge in passing, body use, and effectiveness.

Obviously Griner dominates them all, though Dolson did play her pretty tough last time out.

RLL59 writes:

in response to emailnodata:

Williams is a sophomore.

Dolson has added an outside game and is a tremendous passer.

I don't measure basketball players by the eye-test, I measure them by what they get done on the court. I like Williams, but right now Dolson has the edge in passing, body use, and effectiveness.

Obviously Griner dominates them all, though Dolson did play her pretty tough last time out.

Fully agree on your opinions and your facts. Dolson may be a bit of a cry baby , but she's a top notch center in almost every way. I pull against UConn every game they play, except when they represent the USA, because of their rivalry with TN, but a reasonable person has to give the devil his due. Geno has kept that team playing exceptional basketball year after year despite graduation and transfer losses. Next year's (2013) recruiting class for them isn't even ranked in the top 20, (though they were #1 last year) so they may have a few problems in the years ahead....though that may be wishful thinking.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

"I remember every player—every single one—who wore the Tennessee orange, a bold, aggravating color usually found on a roadside crew, or in a correctional institution. To us, the color is a flag of pride, identifying us as Lady Vols and therefore as women of an unmistakable type. Fighters. I remember how many of them fought for a better life. I just met them halfway." -Pat Summit

Awesome book . I understand now why the past 4 years has been rough . The players knew something was not right and were sad for their coach.

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