Russell recognized by Gatorade and McDonald's

Russell recognized by Gatorade and McDonald's »Play Video

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Wednesday was a super sized day for Springfield's Mercedes Russell.

It began early in the morning, while Russell was in psychology class.  That's when former WNBA champion and gold medalist Maya Moore showed up with a surprise.

Russell was named the 2012-13 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

"It means a lot," says Russell.  "When I saw the list of other players who have gotten it, some of my role models and my favorite players, you know, I was just blessed."

The 6-foot-6 Russell became just the fourth prep athlete in Oregon to be recognized nationally by Gatorade.  (Kevin Love, Sam Crouser and the late Art Skipper were the others.)

Once school was over, Russell went to the Gateway McDonald's, where she was recognized as a McDonald's All-American.

She will become the first boy or girl from the Eugene/Springfield area to play in the McDonald's All-American game, which is April 3rd in Chicago.

"There's a lot of really great players on the team," says Russell. "I'm very excited to be in the game."

Moore, Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker are just some of the former All-Americans that Russell says she admires.

"A lot of those players are role models to me, some of my favorite players," says Russell.  "It definitely means a lot to me."

Russell averaged 25.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, 5.5 blocks, 3.9 assists and 2.0 steals per game last season.

She will play her college ball at Tennessee next season.

To hear more from Russell, click on the above video tab.