Mercedes Russell's transformation into the nation's prep basketball player of the year took a turn between her freshman and sophomore years, when she grew five inches and moved from guard to the post.
The 6-foot-5 Springfield High School star who is headed to Tennessee in the fall says the shift made her a better player.
Others apparently thought she was good, too, because on Wednesday she was named the Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year, becoming the first girl from Oregon to earn the honor.
Russell joins the likes of Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker and current Stanford star Chiney Ogwumike in receiving the award. Kevin Love, who played at Oregon's Lake Oswego High School, was honored with it on the boy's side in 2007.
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