Springfield (Springfield, Oregon) senior center Mercedes Russell was recently named the Gatorade Nationals Girls Basketball Player of the Year. The one and only Chad Konecky broke the news on USATodayhss.com; Maya Moore surprised Russell with the award at her school’s gymnasium.
“I was so shocked and excited when Maya Moore walked up behind me,” Russell said. “I had no idea this was going to happen. It was definitely a thrilling moment.”
Russell averaged 25.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, 5.5 blocks, 3.9 assists and 2.0 steals per game this year and brought her team all the way to the Class 5A state title game. Those block and steal averages are just absolutely insane and she did it all while shooting over seventy percent from the field.
Russell is now automatically nominated for the Gatorade Girls’ Athlete of the Year award and she has as decent a shot as any to bring it home. She is a two-time Gatorade Oregon Player of the Year, and with averages like hers? It would surprise me if she didn’t win it, but there are many deserving young women out there.
Russell will join the Tennessee Volunteers next year and she will help them defensively as soon as she arrives on campus. That will be this summer by the way.
Congratulations to Russell and we have only seen a glimpse of her very bright future.