Mercedes Russell Earns U.S. Olympic Committee's June Athlete of the Month Award
Colorado Springs, Colo. • July 14, 2011
The U.S. Olympic Committee announced Mercedes Russell (Springfield, Ore.) and men’s freestyle kayaker Dane Jackson (Rock Island, Tenn.) as its June Athletes of the Month, while the men’s tennis doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) was awarded Team of the Month honors.
A 6’5” center, out of Springfield High School, Russell led the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in rebounding (11.4 rpg) and blocked shots (4.0 bpg), while adding a USA second-best 11.6 points per game to help the squad to a perfect 5-0 record and gold medal in Merida, Mexico, June 13-18. Starting in all five games, Russell averaged 22.8 minutes per contest, while establishing five U.S. women’s U16 records, including marks for rebounds and blocks averaged.
Russell opened the competition with single-game records of 15 rebounds and five blocked shots to go along with her 21 points in a win over Brazil. The next day, she had five points, nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals as the U.S. defeated Argentina. As the USA wrapped up preliminary play with an 82-point win over Venezuela, Russell was 4-of-4 from the field to tally eight points, eight rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists. In the USA’s semifinal win over Puerto Rico, Russell contributed 14 points, 13 rebounds and once again tied her blocks record with five rejections. And in a dominating gold-medal win over Brazil, Russell added 10 points, 12 boards and three blocks. She also ranked fourth in the tournament in free throw percentage (.750) and seventh in scoring.
USA U16 gold medal winner Jabari Parker (Simeon H.S./Chicago, Ill.) finished in third in athlete of the month voting, and the 2011 USA Basketball Men's U16 National Team, which wrapped up a perfect 5-0 record for a gold medal in the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, listed third in the team of the month voting.
Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male and one team per discipline. A voting panel selects the winners from the pool of nominees, with online fan voting via Twitter accounts for 10 percent of the total vote.
For more information, please visit www.teamusa.org.