5. Phillip Russell - UT Arlington
There are not many writers out there who are bigger fans of Russel than myself and it is because of his ability to impact a game in many different ways. The point guard started his career at Saint Louis where he was behind Yuri Collins and was likely not going to get minutes. Then he transferred to Southeast Missouri State where he started at point guard for two seasons. The last one he was able to score 18 points per game and lead the Redhawks to the NCAA tournament. The hope for the Mavericks is that Russell can have the same success with their program that he did at Southeast Missouri State.
The point guard is currently averaging 17.7 points per game and a shade under 5 assists. That lines up with exactly what Russell did last season. He is a volume scorer and gets to the line a lot where he shoots a very high percentage. Russell should be playing at a power school but because he is 5’10” he never has been given the opportunity to do so.
UT Arlington is going to rely on Russell to lead their offense and don’t be surprised when he is one of the best scoring guards in the country for the rest of the year. He will likely shoot 35% or higher from deep and contribute around 6 assists. Russell is one of the best guards in the WAC. The Mavericks are a middle of the pack WAC team with Russell leading the offense.