Northern Arizona new head coach Jack Murphy is very much like the head coach he worked for at Memphis - Josh Pastner. Murphy is very young, hardworking and even relentless, and getting it done in a major way since being hired.
Murphy was recently hired to take over a struggling Northern Arizona basketball program and tasked with revitalizing the program's commitment to recruiting the best basketball talent in the state of Arizona. While former head coach Mike Adras often recruited abroad and passed on much of the top-rated Arizona prospects, Murphy, in just two short weeks, has reeled in letters of intent from two of the state's elite prospects.
After first receiving a signed letter of intent last Thursday from former McClintock High School graduate and Texas Tech 6-foot-7 freshman transfer Cameron Forte, Murphy has struck again. On Tuesday afternoon, Murphy received a signed national letter of intent from this year's Arizona Republic Big School Player of the Year, ultra-talented Peoria High School 5-foot-10 senior point guard Dewayne Russell.
"It was a really good fit for me," said Russell over the phone on Tuesday evening.
Russell was the tate's top available unsigned senior prospect still available, after recently re-opening his college recruitment in February, after a decommitment from the USC Trojans. Russell had given a verbal commitment to USC in January, but decided to re-open his recruitment a month later.
Russell had heard from many schools during the recruiting process, and had held offers from Cal Poly, Niagara, Cal-State Bakersfield and Texas-San Antonio during the process. He was also receiving strong interest from such schools as Hawaii, San Francsico, Northeastern, Saint Mary's College and UTEP.
In Russell, the Lumberjacks are getting an absolute steal this late in the recruiting process. An athletic and explosive point guard prospect with serious potential as a player and excellent toughness and leadership qualities.
Russell is fresh off leading his Peoria High School program to this year's Division-II state championship after a narrow championship win over defending state-champion Amphitheater HS. Russell led Peoria High School to this year's Division-II State Championship - after posting an impressive 27-3 record on the season. Russell is regarded as one of the very elite talents in the state after averaging eye-popping numbers this season - pouring in 27 points, 5.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 3.8 steals per/game this season.
Russell was also selected last summer by our Arizona Preps' staff for an invite for the Reebok Breakout Camp in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in July - a camp organized and hosted by NBA guard John Wall (Washington Wizards).
Russell advised me that he has a 2.9 CUM GPA, and achieved a 19 on his ACT college entrance examination.
Congratulations to Russell and his family on this excellent accomplishment, as this young man has overcame a lot in his short life to become the person that he is today. He should have an excellent career ahead of himself at Northern Arizona.
Arizona Hoop Review Scouting Report: Russell is as talented a guard prospect as there is in the state. His superior athleticism and quickness allows him to make plays most prospects his size cannot. He is a relentless driver of the basketball and has explosive quickness off the dribble, which he is able to use to create space off the dribble and finish plays. He has a nice jump shot shooting stroke, which he uses to make himself tough to defend off the bounce. Russell's shot selection can be questionable at times, but he makes up for it with his tenacious attitude on the floor - always wearing his game face. He is an excellent defender and can become a lock-down defender if he chooses to focus on it, but he has excellent lateral quickness and is known for beating his man to the spot on the floor. Russell is an excellent passer and has excellent court vision to boot, but he does gamble at times, but you can live with it. A very good penetrator that finishes plays over biger defenders, and also sets his teammates up nicely. A big-time sleeper prospect. Decommitted from USC.