Hilltop Heroes: Nick Russell
Published: Friday, January 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 18, 2013 00:01
Nick Russell, one of the stars of the SMU Men’s basketball team has had a great season so far. Even through a hot start and a slump for the squad, the transfer from Kansas State University has proved his mettle on and off of the court.
The Mustangs are now 11-8 following a tough 74-70 loss to the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi.
Although a close loss to a team that made the NCAA tournament last year was a bitter pill to swallow, Russell looks forward to the next game, and only the next game.
“The game I’m most excited about is the next game,” Russell said. “I don’t even know what the next game is.”
Russell’s analysis of both his and his team’s faults is cutting and accurate. When asked about the lack of depth on the squad, he echoed head coach Larry Brown. “We rebounded well, and that was something that we had focused on [in practice], but we just couldn’t do enough,” said Russell. “Our bench is filled with Freshmen, guys without a lot of experience, and it shows. A few guys are playing a lot of minutes, and it is hurting us. Coach Brown is doing the best he can do, he doesn’t have a lot [of options off of the bench], but when guys do come on, they do what they can, they get good shots and some points. Our inexperience is hurting us this year though.”
Life has changed dramatically for the six foot four inch 200 pound guard since he left his first school, Kansas State. He has had three coaches in three years, he has moved back closer to his home and his team is both young and inexperienced, but ,like K-State teams, full of potential. He has moved from a perennial NCAA tournament invitee to a squad that hasn’t made it to a NCAA tournament since Russell was two years old. But he takes it all in stride.
His other passion and perhaps his only constant in his college years has been his major, Psychology. When talking about the field, his eyes light up as he describes the intricacies of both family and sports psychology in great detail.
“I see things that go in relationships and I can say I’ve studied that, you know, I know why that’s happening. I can actually see and dissect things that are in my life now… for example, I understand the way that we as human beings react to and deal with rewards, like why we do certain things.”
After he is done in basketball he wants to use his degree to open up a family issues psychology practice in order to help other people with marital issues.
“I always figured that sports would play into my life. As time went on I knew that I would have to make decisions about sports. I knew I didn’t want to run track anymore, I didn’t like running; I didn’t want to play football, I got tired of being tackled, it just came out to playing basketball.”
His decision to play only one sport in high school was a boon according to him. “Its wild to believe that [basketball] to me to here, I was just this kid who was playing basketball just to play, but now its paying for my school, it can and hopefully will open up so many doors for me.”
His main goal is graduation. The emphasis that he puts on the importance of a college degree is one that would qualify him to be an NCAA poster-child for the benefits of collegiate athletics. He is a redshirt junior, which means that he will graduate in four years with his degree; something that only 60% percent of his peers at SMU can say that they did, not to mention his fellow student-athletes.
After school, his dream is to play in the NBA. “My main goal is to be successful in basketball, I really want to make it to the NBA. And if I cant, its just another blessing, you know, I’m thankful enough for what the Lord has given me.”