Russell Signs Professional Contract to Play Overseas
July 15, 2013
TRUTNOV, Czech Republic - Former Illinois State guard Jamie Russell signed on to play professionally overseas with Kara Trutnov of the ZBL Basketball Club in the Czech Republic. Russell is the first Redbird women's basketball player to play professionally since 2009, when Kristi Cirone played for the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA, before going overseas to play in Greece.
Russell is excited for the opportunity to continue playing basketball, while accomplishing a lifelong goal.
"Growing up, I always told myself I'd never play basketball for money because I never wanted it to be a job to me," Russell said. "However, this opportunity is an experience of a lifetime and something I could never pass up. Basketball paid my way through college and is continuing to pave my way through life, but never will I look at it as a job. No matter where I am playing, home or overseas, I'll forever feel at home on the court."
The ZBL season lasts for eight months, not including the playoffs, and play will begin on Sept. 20th and goes until April 20th. Kara Trutnov finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 15-13 and were fourth in the A1 standings.
Russell, an All-Valley First-Team member and a Valley Scholar-Athlete selection, started every game for the Redbirds during the 2012-13 season and was the team's leading scorer with 14.1 points per game. In 35 games, she tallied double-digit performances in 25 games, including nine-straight with a double-digit scoring effort. Besides leading ISU in points per game, the Rock Falls, Ill., native also led the Redbirds in steals (92), free throw percentage (.837) and ranked second on the team in assists (99).
Russell was named the MVC Player of the Week on Nov. 12, after netting 20 points against Morehead State (Nov. 9) and 30 points at Iowa (Nov. 11), tying a career-high. At Iowa, the senior just missed a triple double with 30 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high eight steals. From April 4-6, Russell participated in the 2013 New Orleans Combine in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four, competing in three scouted games, individual filmed workouts and evaluations of skills.
In May, Russell was selected to be a NetScouts Basketball USA All-Star in the `Four Nations Tournament' in China. USA competed against China, Brazil and Australia three times each. Team USA won the overall title with a record of 7-2. Russell was named the 'Four Nations Tournament' Most Valuable Player (MVP) for her performance throughout the trip. She is the first player in the program to earn all-tournament team honors at all three stops on the tour. Russell averaged 10.2 points, four rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game for Team USA.
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