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Q&A: New Oklahoma State Pledge Russell Harrison Talks Commitment, Journey and Fatherhood

Harrison’s journey to Stillwater included a lot of twists and turns.

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Mike Boynton added to his 2022-23 roster Monday evening in the form of Russell Harrison.

A 6-foot-7 wing, Harrison committed to Oklahoma State after spending the past two seasons at Louisiana Monroe. Originally out of Lubbock, Texas, Harrison averaged 13.1 points and 5.5 rebounds a game last season for the Warhawks while shooting 38% from 3.

Harrison had a long journey to even get to ULM, though. His college career started at the NAIA level before making a stop on the junior college level. He is set to make a visit to OSU’s campus this week and will graduate this weekend.

He spoke with PFB Tuesday afternoon about his commitment.

PFB: Why Oklahoma State?

Russell Harrison: “I really just felt like they believed in me. I had a really good feeling about it and prayed about it a lot. That’s the choice that I decided to make because I felt like that’s where God wanted to put me.”

PFB: What were some of the other schools you considered?

RH: “I was considering Texas Tech, NC State, Tulsa and New Mexico.”

PFB: What are your thoughts on Mike Boynton?

RH: “I think Coach Boynton is a very good coach as well as a very great person outside of basketball. He really cares for his kids and team and not just that but the program. I really am excited about the opportunity.”

PFB: Have you visited Oklahoma State?

RH: “No, I’m planning a visit. I’ll probably be on campus late [Wednesday] and Thursday. Mainly Thursday.”

PFB: Is it difficult picking a school you haven’t visited yet?

RH: “Not so much. I mean, Coach Boynton recruited me out of JUCO as well, so I kind of had the trust in him. So, that also made an impact on me making the decision go to Oklahoma State.”

PFB: What was Boynton’s pitch to you this time around?

RH: “He just kind of really told me he believes I’ve proven myself to be a good Division-I player and not just at a collegiate-level player, that he’s excited about the opportunity for me.”

PFB: It seems like you’ve had a crazy journey from NAIA to JUCO to Division-I. Starting at the beginning, what were your prospects like as a high school player at Monterey in Lubbock?

RH: “Man, I didn’t get any attention out of high school. I’m one of those sleeper guys that you never really heard of, and I kind of just worked my way up and continue to grind it out. Not giving up on my dreams.

“I didn’t play any circuit league basketball — AAU or anything like that. Back then, really, that was the main source of recruiting to me. I mean, people get looks out of high school now just because the media is such a big platform.”

PFB: And then what led you to Wayland Baptist?

RH: “They just believed me the most. That was the school that I felt believed me the most and was willing to give me the opportunity to show what I could do.”

PFB: If I read this correctly, you then redshirted your second year there and didn’t play the year after that. What went into that?

RH: “I just kind of had some family issues going on and stuff.”

PFB: So then after two years away, you ended up going to Clarendon. What brought you there?

RH: “I was actually going to end up at a another NAIA, Central Arkansas. They sent me my letter of intent, and I just hadn’t signed it and sent it back and one of my friends that I played against in high school, he actually reached out to me and told me to come play there at Clarendon with him. I gave him a call, and he got me on three-way with Coach Isaac Amedee, which is one of my really good guys now. He gave me the opportunity, and I took that opportunity because I knew that was the only opportunity to give myself the chance to play at the Division-I level. And that’s always been a dream for me.”

PFB: Was it difficult being away for two years and coming back?

RH: “I mean, it definitely was difficult getting in shape-wise and stuff. I mean, I never really lost my basketball touch and stuff like that, so that wasn’t a problem for me. But conditioning and stuff, it definitely took me a little time to get back in shape and things like that, get my legs under me.”

PFB: Then you end up at Louisiana Monroe. What was your recruitment process out of JUCO like?

RH: “It was OK. It could have been better. I really didn’t have the grades and stuff, so I didn’t get to make a choice that I really wanted to make. I kinda had to go with what I could.”

PFB: Stepping away from that, how would you describe your game? Is there an NBA guy people compare you to?

RH: “People have compared me to Jason Tatum, sometimes Kyle Anderson just because he’s so slow and smooth. I’ve been compared to Melo [Carmelo Anthony] just the way I can shoot the ball.”

PFB: Do you know any of the guys on Oklahoma State’s roster? Have you come across those guys before?

RH: “No, sir. I’ve had some of the coaches and stuff reach out to me. I haven’t had any players yet reach out to me. I’m sure they will soon. I mean, I’m going on my visit this week.”

PFB: Another guy OSU has been linked with this offseason is Texas State transfer Caleb Asberry. You both played in the Sun Belt. What do you think of his game?

RH: “I played him six times at ULM. I think he’s a good player, man. He can really score the ball, and I think he’s a good on-ball defender. He’s athletic, as well, for his size. I definitely think he could score the ball, and he could fill it up quick shooting that 3 ball.”

PFB: 3-point shooting was an area OSU lacked in last season. Is that an area of your game you pride yourself on?

RH: “I really just like to take what the defense gives me. I know I’m a good 3-point shooter, so if they’re backing up, I’m gonna shoot the ball.”

PFB: I see you’re also a father. With how crazy your journey has been, what’s it like throwing fatherhood into all that?

RH: “It can be stressful at times, but I just I put my trust in God and get through it and believe in him and that he’s gonna put me in the right place. No matter what, he’s gonna take care of me. He’ll provide for me and do all those things that I need. I try not to stress about it too much. You don’t see a lot of people really having kids and still going to school and playing sports at the same time. It’s been a challenge, but I’ve taken it on well, I think. I’m gonna graduate this weekend, so I’ll say I’m doing pretty good.”

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