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Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell: “I’m the best in the draft”

D'Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell, left, drives past Arizona forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson during an NCAA college basketball tournament round of 32 game in Portland, Ore., Saturday, March 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)


You have to love the confidence. You have to love the little smirk at the end of this comment.

When asked what made him so sure he was the best player, he responded, “Did you watch?”

Ohio State’s guard D’Angelo Russell may think he’s the best, but he knows he is going to go third, maybe fourth, in the upcoming NBA Draft. Most teams have Karl Anthony-Towns at the top of their boards, with the polished Jahlil Okafor second. And even if those teams drafting in the top two spots after the lottery are loaded already in the frontcourt — think Philadelphia — they will draft one of those two first, and then later trade a big for what they need.

After those two it’s probably Russell, although Emmanuel Mudiay and Justice Winslow lurk.

There are scouts who just love Russell, but the feeling is not unanimous. The question isn’t if he can score, he averaged 19.3 points a game and shot 41 percent from three. However, what really impresses is his court vision and passing. He’s also a big guard at 6’5” and it’s easy to put him in the Russell Westbrook mold of combo guards (although he’s not Westbrook athletic).

What gives some teams pause was expressed by our own draft expert Ed Issacson of Rotoworld and NBA Draft Blog: “I’m not as high on him as a lot of people. A lot of teams have found ways to be successful in pretty much stopping him — in all aspects, whether it be distributing the ball or scoring…. In games against the top 60 we’re talking about a guy who was shooting 36-37 percent, even less from three, was getting his assists but also was turning the ball over a lot more…. On the bright side, in a big spot he wants the ball, very aggressive, always looking to make something happen.”