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Frain: He Might be the Nation’s Most Underrated Transfer Guard



Mike Sharavjamts San Francisco Basketball

After carrying Southeast Missouri State to the program’s first OVC Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance since 2000, junior guard Phillip Russell might be the nation’s most underrated transfer. (He didn’t even make our under-the-radar transfers list.)

Despite being listed at just 5-foot-10, the All-Conference First Team selection averaged 18.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 5.1 APG, and 1.6 STLPG following incredible performances against Missouri, Iowa, and Morehead State last season. 

He announced his decision to enter the portal in April and by late May, Russell had found his new home for the 2023-24 campaign, committing to UT Arlington Head Coach KT Turner and his loaded transfer class. While Russell needs a waiver to play this season, let’s look into the potential of him playing for UTA.

He’ll team up with New Mexico State transfer DaJuan Gordon, former Louisville recruit Fabio Basili, and Georgia Tech transfer Freds Pauls Bagatskis, among other exciting transfers and several returners.

In Russell, the Mavericks are getting one of the nation’s most underrated guards due to his size. A power-6 level transfer, Russell is an absolutely explosive piece who can lead this UTA offense for the next 2-3 seasons.

He showed it consistently last season, leading the Redhawks to NCAA Tournament glory and dropping a 15-point, 10-assist double-double on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi upon arrival.

While UT Arlington was selected just eighth in the WAC’s Preseason Poll, I believe the ceiling for Russell and Co. is fairly high and the Mavericks could surprise some in conference play if he is in the mix.

Either way, Russell and Coach Turner have an opportunity to build something this season and with the do-it-all guard at the helm this UT Arlington program is heading places.

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