Brent Yarina, Senior Editor, June 24, 2015

Louisville coach Rick Pitino offered a bold take on former Ohio State guard and NBA prospect D'Angelo Russell, a Louisville native, in a recent ESPN interview.

[ VIDEO: Watch Rick Pitino talk D'Angelo Russell in ESPN interview

"In the last 30 some odd years, outside of Magic Johnson, he's the best passer I've seen come along in a long time," Pitino said.

"He's a great basketball player, has great instincts, really understands the game very well. I love his game."

Click the link above to watch Pitino's full take on Russell.

Russell, a first-team AP All-American and the 2015 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, is expected to be a top 5 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft on Thursday night in Brooklyn. See experts' latest mock drafts.

Pitino went on to praise Russell, who he tried to bring to Louisville and who went for 17-6-6 vs. him in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

"It would not surprise me to see him win rookie of the year," the coach said, "because he really is a great, great passer, a great offensive basketball player."


 Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports