Skull Session: D'Angelo Russell Had No Idea How Good He Was, Urban Meyer Likes Trevor Lawrence Over Justin Fields, and Officer CJ Barnett Talks to Buckeyes About Police

By Kevin Harrish on June 4, 2020 at 4:59 am
Marcus Crowley does a touchdown in today's skull session.

I greet you this morning with the most absurd Tweet ever composed.

Someday, they will offer Pulitzers for Tweet composition.

Song of the Day: "Juke Jam" by Chance the Rapper.

Word of the Day: Innervate.

 BLISSFULLY UNAWARE. It's very rare to come across a teen – or person of any age, for that matter – that is actually better at what they do than they sincerely believe they are.

D'Angelo Russell, by all accounts, was one of them.

After the tough start of his Montverde career, Russell led his team to two national high school championships. He played in two of the most prominent high school basketball games in the country: the McDonald's All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic game. ESPN ranked him as the 13th-best basketball player in the 2014 high school class. Yet, even with all of the accolades, being a one-and-done prospect did not seem realistic.

“I was special at a young age and I didn’t know it,” Russell said.

That sentiment changed fast once he got to Ohio State. He scored over 30 points and hit a game-winner during his first exhibition matchup against West Virginia. Matta quickly realized they had landed more than just a top recruit-- and he might not be on campus for very long.

"We got on the bus I turned to the coaches, and I said, 'Hey fellas, we gotta find another guard,'" Matta said. "I've never seen anything like what he just did in there."


(Jake) Mills' first time going to see his childhood best friend at Ohio State happened to come at the same time Phil Jackson, then the president of the New York Knicks, came to campus. Looking back on that gave Jake and Russell chills.

Even at this point, Russell still did not fully grasp that he would make the NBA until the Big Ten Tournament at the end of the season.

"It was shocking to me," Russell said. "I'm really out here busting these dudes."

I watched every single minute of DAR's home games from the first row of the student section. It didn't take long for me to realize he was by far the most talented Ohio State player I'd ever seen with my own eyes, but the moment I knew he was a lottery pick was a game where he bounced a no-look, cross-court pass off of Jae'Sean Tate's chest, and it rolled out of bounds for a turnover.

Thad looked absolutely pissed – which is his natural state, to be fair – but D'Angelo just shrugged and mouthed "he was open" to him.

Dude was just way, way too good for that team, and for college basketball. It just took him a while to figure that out.

 FAKE ASS BUCKEYE! I hate to say it, but it looks like Urban Meyer's turned his back on us. My guy had the audacity to put the world's most famous Afghan Hound ahead of Justin Fields in his quarterback rankings.

He should have ranked the quarterbacks based on who he'd want to coach, because it's painfully obvious that Justin Fields is Meyer's wet dream of a quarterback.

I'm sure he watches him in practice and on gamedays just yearning for the chance to call QB power on 4th-and-1 with Fields back in shotgun, and we wouldn't even complain that much at the moment because you know damn well that shit would work.

 A CORRECT TAKE. But enough from the future Hall of Fame coach, let's hear some far more correct analysis from an actual football-knower:

My therapist, who is also my feline son, has helped me realize that I use self-preservation techniques as a coping mechanism for disappointment, and one of them is pretending not to care about the Heisman Trophy.

Since this is a safe place, I now must confess – I truly do care about the Heisman Trophy and it pains me so much that Ohio State hasn't had a winner in almost a decade and a half, especially when one more trophy would give the Buckeyes the most all-time.

Bring it home, Justin. Bring it home.

 COP TALK. Ohio State football players have been a very vocal and active part of the recent police protests, and there just happens to be a former Ohio State player serving on the police force which they are protesting.

There might not be a better person on the planet to speak with the team right now than C.J. Barnett, so the Buckeyes opened up the conversation.

And from the sound of it, it was a productive talk.

"Hopefully, it just provides a little bit of understanding," Barnett said. "The big emphasis was on I understand them, I hear them. I know they're frustrated. I know they are hurt. I'm frustrated, I am hurt as well so that was the biggest thing, just to let them know that I personally understand. A lot of officers understand, we understand what the world is going through right now."

He said he shared with players what police have been going through and his personal perspective working the frontlines. He also answered questions about why police might arrest someone or use pepper spray.

I can't imagine this is how Barnett ever envisioned a his Real Life Wednesday conversation with the team, but it's much more important than your typical talk.

The Buckeyes were lucky to have him when he suited up in the Scarlet and Gray, and they're lucky to have him now.

 LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, JOSHUA PERRY. Everyone has a perspective, everyone has an opinion, and everyone has a voice. But I'm not naive enough to think my perspective is the only one, my opinion is always the correct one, or that my voice has to be the loudest one.

So allow me to yield the floor to my friend, Joshua, who can offer you a perspective on the current events that I simply cannot, and do it far more eloquently than my words ever could.

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