Famous Alumni, Russell Westbrook
Leuzinger High Class of 1977

Russell  Westbrook's Profile Personal Info

Name:
Russell Westbrook
Graduation Year:
1977

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Russell  Westbrook Memories Memories of Russell Westbrook

Born on November 12, 1988, in Long Beach, California, Russell Westbrook learned to play basketball from his hoops-loving father. After joining the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008, he led his team to the 2012 NBA Finals and became one of the league's most dynamic players. Known for his eccentric outfits, Westbrook has collaborated with Barneys New York and launched an eyewear brand.

Early Years and Schools

Russell Westbrook III was born on November 12, 1988, in Long Beach, California, and grew up in South Central Los Angeles. He learned to play basketball from his dad, a playground star who devised drills for Westbrook and younger brother Raynard to follow. Russell Sr. and mom Shannon Horton also made sure their two boys focused on academics, with Westbrook eventually becoming an honor student.

Westbrook attracted little attention as 5'8" freshman at Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, California, and the following year he endured a personal tragedy when teammate Khelcey Barrs died after a pickup game. Westbrook played his way into the starting lineup as a junior, and that summer he underwent a growth spurt that suddenly transformed him into a major college basketball prospect. As a senior, he averaged more than 25 points per game and dunked for the first time, and was recruited to play for Ben Howland at UCLA.

The athletic, explosive Westbrook helped UCLA reach the Final Four in both of his seasons at UCLA, earning all-conference Defensive Player of the Year honors as a sophomore. He was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft by the Seattle Supersonics, which officially became the Oklahoma City Thunder a few days later.

Pro Basketball Stardom

Westbrook was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team after averaging more than 15 points per game in his first season, and by his third season he became just the fifth player in league history to accumulate 4,000 points, 1,500 assists and 1,000 rebounds by that point of his career. Paired with fellow All-Star Kevin Durant, Westbrook helped a young, exciting Thunder team reach the 2011 Western Conference Finals.

The 6'3" point guard averaged 23.6 points per game during the 2011-12 season and led the Thunder to an NBA Finals matchup against the Miami Heat. Although billed a showdown between scoring champion Durant and Heat superstar LeBron James, Westbrook often stole the show with his explosive drives and tenacious play before Miami pulled away to win in five games. Later that summer, he earned an Olympic gold medal as a member of the U.S. men's basketball team.

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