University of Louisville has a billboard in…..Springfield, Oregon

The University of Louisville mounted an advertisement on a billboard recently in Springfield, Ore. It is one of a few ads that take turns flashing by on the electronic marquee, and it features pictures of two athletes on the women’s basketball team: Shoni Schimmel, who is from Oregon, and Bria Smith, who hails from New York. The message reads, “Louisville basketball supports its athletes from coast to coast.”

Tammy Hill said the sign seems to be aimed at her family, as her daughter Mercedes Russell is the top recruit in the 2013 class. Louisville is among the schools Russell is still considering as she goes into the July recruiting period, after narrowing down her list from hundreds of choices.

“One can only assume, since the sign is along a highway that is an exit away from our house, and an exit away from Springfield High School,” Hill said. “For creativity, I have to give them credit. I’ve never seen that approach before.”

Hill said it is hard to take a picture of the sign because of its location, but added that it is very bright.

Russell has taken a few unofficial visits to colleges so far. She will use all five of her official visits this fall, Hill said, and will make her college decision prior to the beginning of high school basketball season.

“She just wants to enjoy her senior season, without all the pressure,” Hill said.

Russell ascended to prominence in the spring of 2011, when she capped off a strong season by leading her Springfield Millers team to a state title. Last summer she played with the USA Basketball U16 team, which won a gold medal. This past season Russell averaged 28 points and 15 rebounds per game and lead the Millers to a repeat title. In August Russell will play with the U17 team in the world championships.

Mercedes Russell at a Mater Dei High School tournament this past April.


  1. I too hope she goes to Tennessee. Their fans are the best around and we could all see her on TV a lot more than with any other program.

  2. I plan to take off work tomorrow to be a part of the crowd coming to UL to watch all of the elite camp participants. Hopefully many of them will some day wear the red, black and white uniforms of a school that does not split apart the women's athletic administration as soon as their coach is not in a position to fight back. What will TN officials do next? Rename the floor?

  3. Anonymous making the Tennessee comments: you haven't got much to say. Jeff Walz took his team to the Final Four in 2009, and hasn't been able to do much since. Several players have left his program, too.

    I just want Mercedes to make the best decision for Mercedes.

  4. This is actually illegal per NCAA rules. It is considered an impermissible recruiting advertisement. Several schools have recently reported violations for similar billboards that are strategically placed to target specific recruits. But best of luck to this young lady. She sounds awfully talented.

  5. I seriously doubt the billboard is illegal and have no doubt U of L would have cleared with the NCAA before footing the bill. Louisville has already two players from Oregon — Shoni and Jude Schimmel.

  6. here's my take:
    1. i think she wants to play in the major league with competition, big crowds and strong fans base. (SEC,BigEast) that explains why stanford not in the list.
    2. she wants to secure playing time. this one explains the uconn's case.
    3. and lastly, i think she likes the attention. she all in for being a star which she absolutely capable of. being the face of the team.

    both tennessee and louisville can give her that.

    but if i were you, mercedes. i would choose tennessee. here's why. i want those 3 but i want national championship too and lets admit it tennessee supporting cast is better then louisville.
    (u cant win championship by yourself see angel mccoughtry's case). so tennessee is my answer.

    too bad i am not mercedes russell. :p

  7. if i were mercedes russell, i would go to tennessee cos i want to call pat summitt as my mother and be tamika catchings little sister. #wishfulthinkin #ibleedorange

  8. Louisville has been an elite program for years and has been a consistent top ten performer. Walz is a proven coach with no fear of programs like Tennessee or UConn. But for the refs unwillingness to control the thugs from Maryland we would have seen more of the Cards in the NCAAs last year.

    We have no idea what the new Vol coach is capable of, but at this point she's unproven as a head coach.
    Given the turmoil at Tennessee it's pretty clear that the program is not trending up. Let's see if they'll schedule UConn now.

    Louisville has already proven their willingness to recruit nationally with the Shimmel sisters. The NCAA just confirmed eligibility for two of their injured ballers. So they're ready to rock.

    Russell would love it there.

  9. Louisville fans may think they are an elite program but the rest of wbb fans don't agree. They do like to blame their shortcomings on injuries or refs!

    Russell may end up some place other than UT or UL. Stay tuned!

  10. Feel free to poor mouth Louisville. The fact remains that Tennessee has to prove they still actually have a top ten program. FYI – you don't get grandfathered in. New head coach, new athletic dept structure complete with lawsuits etc. You aren't you're momma's Tennessee.

    You can only ride the coattails so long. The only thing that will keep Tennessee in the top twenty next year is the general lack of parity in women's CBB.

  11. Walz was a new head coach a few years back wasn't he? Warlick has a lot more going for her starting her first HC job. That argument doesn't add up.

  12. Do some math on this.

    Warlick has spent most of her professional career as a supporting cast member in the Summitt show. She has been a role player, period. Tennessee fans wishing that she is the next Pat are dreaming.

    Successfully filling the role of assistant coach for three decades is hardly a leading indicator of future success as a head coach when a person is in their mid-50's upon taking their first head coaching job.

    Either you aren't paying attention to that program or you are ignoring the facts. They are in an organizational and cultural uproar in the entire Tennessee athletic department, particularly in the women's programs. If you doubt me spend some time on the Tennessee blogs. It isn't pretty.

    You've got a coach who has never been fully in charge while filling a very specific role in a program that changed little in three decades now becoming head coach and fully in charge in a program that is now structured and being managed much differently than during the Pat era.

    In any case we'll see what they can do. This is kinda like when Wooden retired from UCLA. It was never the same. Tennessee women's basketball won't be either and no amount of wishful thinking will make it so.

    The most interesting question now is will Tennessee finally overcome the shame of intentionally not scheduling the best woman's CBB teams while still claiming to be "the premier college WBB program"? Maybe with Pat you get away with it, not with Warlick. Eventually you have to quit running away from the best program in the country and go toe to toe.

    We'll see.

  13. Bloggers don't have to enable comments – I'm being nice. I would be happy to turn off the comment option.

    This isn't a dialogue; it's a stupid argument over which school/coach is better. There's not going to be any resolution out of that.

  14. This is a pretty pathetic (i.e. desperate) display on behalf of Louisville. However, I hope this young woman chooses a school where she can help build a program and lead it to new heights.

    I hope she chooses a Pac 12 school. The Pac12 Network will be up and running so those east of the Mississippi will be able to enjoy her court exploits from afar. 🙂