Potential draft prospect D'Angelo Russell shines in tournament debut

Potential draft prospect D'Angelo Russell shines in tournament debut
Ohio State point guard D'Angelo Russell scored 28 points in the Buckeyes' NCAA tournament overtime victory over Virginia Commonwealth. (Craig Mitchelldyer / Associated Press)

When the NCAA's Round of 64 kicked off on Thursday, Ohio State freshman guard D'Angelo Russell did not disappoint.

The Buckeyes (10th seed) upset VCU (seventh) behind 28 points from Russell, despite the 6-foot-5 guard taking an elbow to the face that drew blood.


Russell shot 50% from the field (10-20) and 57.1% from three-point range (4-7).

Ohio State will face Stanley Johnson and the Arizona Wildcats (second) on Saturday.

If Russell declares for the draft, he projects to be a high pick -- potentially in the Lakers' range, provided they successfully get through May's draft lottery.

The Lakers traded their 2015 pick to the Phoenix Suns for Steve Nash. It has since been conveyed by Phoenix to the Philadelphia 76ers. If the pick falls below five, the Lakers lose it in June to the Sixers.

The Lakers may have as many as four picks in the draft, including their own first (currently fourth) and second (34th), along with the Houston Rockets' 27th and the Clippers' 55th.

Both additional picks came over with Jeremy Lin in trade from the Rockets. The Lakers only get the Clippers' selection if it's in the 51-55 range.

A number of additional first-round prospects also played on Thursday.

As expected, the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats (first) had little trouble with the Hampton Pirates (16th).

Forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns, who may be the top overall pick, scored 21 points with 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. Center Willie Cauley-Stein scored seven with 11 rebounds and two blocks.

Arizona's Johnson hit eight of 11 shots for 22 points, in the Wildcats' 93-72 win over Texas Southern (15th). Forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 23 points on seven of nine shooting, along with 10 rebounds for Arizona.

UCLA (11th) forward Kevon Looney scored six points with 10 rebounds in the Bruins' 60-59 win over SMU (sixth).

Jerian Grant's Notre Dame (third) squad defeated Northeastern (14th), 69-65. Grant scored 17 points on seven of 12 shooting with five assists.

Not everyone improved their draft stock on Thursday.

Center Myles Turner scored just two points with four turnovers, but collected 10 rebounds in 16 minutes as his Texas Longhorns (11th) fell to the Butler Bulldogs (sixth), 56-48.


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