Here’s Why Daron “Fatts” Russel is Rhode Island’s Next Star

November 1, 2018 | Liam Blutman

Daron Russel, NCAA Basketball

Daron Russell, the kid they call Fatts, will be the next great player at Rhode Island and he’s about to have an incredible sophomore season.

Fatts is a 5’10” guard from Philly, and he’s a high energy player who can shoot the three, cross you up, toss dimes, pick your pocket, and drive to the rack with some great athletic layups. I first watched Fatts against Nevada last season – where he scored 7 points in 7 minutes off the bench and gave the Rams a spark to get back in the game. Needless to say, I was impressed with this freshman. Those seven minutes against Nevada and an injury to E.C. Matthews helped Russell get big minutes in the next few games. He played 20+ against Seton Hall, Virginia, Brown, Providence, and Alabama in five straight games, and after struggling against Virginia and being held to two points against the best defense in the nation, Fatts answered with 20 against Brown, 20 against Providence, and 12 at Alabama. He shot 19/35 in those three games and only turned the ball over once in 67 minutes. That’s crazy good ball security for a freshman… in fact, he averaged less than a turnover per game for the season, 0.8! Fatts ended up having a solid freshman season, averaging 7 PPG, 2 APG, and 1.6 RPG.

Fatts Russell had the opportunity to play against Trae Young in the NCAA Tournament and he was ready for this. Former Rhody coach, Dan Hurley, told Russell that the only point guard that was better than him at Peach Jam was Trae. Fatts responded by stating that his coach was wrong; he was the better PG and he was going to prove his coach wrong. Rhody won in overtime and Fatts had Trae flustered after he got a steal on Trae and hit a big three to extend the Rams lead. Trae hit three 3’s in that game, and Fatts matched with three of his own.

I’m telling you: Fatts is going to improve drastically this year, 7/2/1.6 in just 17.9 minutes per game and coming off the bench is pretty impressive. While he shot 35.2% from the field and 29.8% from three, we know those will improve. I can see him shooting upwards of 43% including 35% or greater from three. Some of his notable non-conference games this season are in December. He plays at Providence, West Virginia in Connecticut, MTSU, and the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic which features Bucknell, Charlotte, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana State, TCU, and UNLV. If both Rhode Island and TCU win their first games, they’ll play each other in game two and we’ll see Fatts go up against a tough TCU team led by guard Jaylen Fisher.

I fully expect Fatts Russell to dominate the A-10 and become a household name in college basketball. I expect him to lead Rhode Island back to the NCAA tournament and possibly pull off an upset or two after they were knocked out by Duke in the round of 32 last year. I predict Fatts to average 16+ PPG and have several games where he scores over 25.

Liam Blutman is a first-year student at Santa Monica College bringing a series of articles and editorials about collegiate athletics and young athletes in professional sports. A natural Bruins/Angels fan and solid sports gamer, look for more content coming soon and follow Liam on twitter.


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