Q and A with Michael Russo, Eastlake Forward

Michael Russo is one of the top scorers state, averaging 20.5 points per game for Eastlake High School. He was recently ranked No. 27 on our statewide player rankings. This senior forward will look to lead his team deep into the playoffs and hopefully into the state tournament. We got a chance to talk to Russo about his season so far and his thoughts on the post season. Check out the interview after the jump!

Describe your game to us, what are your main strengths as a basketball player?
I would say that my strengths are the ability to score and shoot by creating my own shot off of screens and certain plays, as well as being a leader for my team in a way that we are going to be able to go in and compete on any given night.

With your success, teams have tried different strategies to stop you. How has Eastlake countered this and how have you kept your composure even with a target on your back?
I have seen many different defenses thrown at me, but I think the best thing I have done is stuck to my game plan and kept my focus for every team we have played. I know every game I go into I have a target on my back, but when I stick with my game plan, no matter what team it is against, the individual and team success will come.

With that said, who do you consider the best defender in Kingco right now?
I would have to say Kasen Williams because of his crazy jumping ability and athleticism as a football player that translates some into basketball too.

Do you plan on playing basketball at the next level?
That is my goal. I am looking around at some colleges right now and seeing if there are any opportunities for me to play. Thing’s will begin to pick up in late March when all the college team’s finish their seasons and begin recruiting a little more aggressively.

Are there any college or NBA players you model your game after?
Ray Allen, who is not only my favorite player but also a guy who I model my game around. He is a shooting guard and has an outstanding outside shot and can score at any time in the game. He also plays good defense and is a team oriented type of player. He is a good leader for his Celtic’s team and I find myself to be a strong leader as well.

What’s the team’s mindset going into the playoffs?
I would say that our mindset is fearlessness. We have prepared ourselves in a way that we can be confident and play to our ability down the stretch. We got great chemistry on the team so we love going to play for each other too. It should be a fun playoff ride.

Did you do anything this off-season differently than previous off-seasons to help prepare you for your last season of high school basketball?
What I do before the season really does not change much from year to year for me. I put up hundreds of shots every day and work on the skills that I look to improve in the upcoming season and at the same time make sure I am in the right physical condition to make it through the season and feel as good at the end as I did at the beginning of the season.

Well, thanks for your time Michael, and good luck in the playoffs!
Thank you very much.