The highest-rated of the four incoming freshmen on the Ohio State men’s basketball team did not begin the summer semester with his teammates yesterday.
Guard D’Angelo Russell, a McDonald’s All-American from Louisville, Ky., who is expected to challenge for a starting position next season, has not had his high-school academic transcript cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center, a source with knowledge of the situation said.
The eligibility center is awaiting Russell’s score from a standardized test he took earlier this month, the source said. He needs a test score that, combined with his grade-point average in his high-school “core courses,” makes him eligible to play as a freshman.
“We are hoping to have him here soon,” coach Thad Matta said in a text message in confirming Russell’s absence.
Neither Russell nor his father, Antonio, responded to messages from The Dispatch seeking comment.
Russell helped Montverde (Fla.) Academy win prep-school national championships the past two seasons. He was ranked the 16th-best player in the 2014 recruiting class in a composite rating by 247sports.com. ESPN ranked him 13th. Russell was invited to try out for USA Basketball’s Under-18 national team, but withdrew from the trials because of a conflict with the start of classes at Ohio State.
Matta said he wanted all players on campus as the Buckeyes begin their offseason strength training and conditioning. The team also has a trip to the Bahamas for two games scheduled in August.