Consider the plight of the freshman backup guard for the Rhode Island Rams. How would you like to go through life with the name of Fatts?

That’d be Fatts Russell, not only a valuable reserve for a surging 21-3 Rhode Island team that has won 16 games in a row, but a member of this season’s college basketball all-name squad.

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It all started as a chubby baby. Terri Sutton took a look at her son and came up with a momentous decision: Fatts, it would be. “I used to eat everything, and she just gave me the nickname and it stuck with me throughout my life,” he said. “At first, when I was six or seven I didn’t really like it. I felt like people were going to make fun of it. As I got older and matured I just grew into it and started liking the uniqueness of it.”

It’s not always easy. Let’s just say Fatts hears about it from crowds on the road.

“When they first call my name when I come in, I hear people in the background saying `Fatts? What kind of name is that?’  I kinda like that.

“I’m glad she gave me the name because honestly it made me who I am today. If there was another name, I don’t know how my personality would be. It just gives me an identity.”

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Fatts is having a grand time contributing seven points a game to a Rhode Island team that now demands national attention. “I’m enjoying the history that is being made here,” he mentioned. He’s also joined on this honor list by a distinguished list of names. Or at least an assortment of them. Some are repeaters from last season, some are new. First, the rookies.

Northwestern State freshman guard Czar Perry

Ormondo Perry believed his son would one day achieve greatness, and he had already seen kids named King and Prince, so why not be a little different? Hence, Czar Anthony Perry, who had to spend a good part of his childhood convincing teachers on the first day of school that, no, Czar was not a nickname, but the real deal. Let’s hope no one has ever tells him how it ended for the last czar of Russia.

Wofford freshman guard Storm Murphy

Storm is his mother Heidi’s maiden name, so that was on her mind. Then when he was born in Wisconsin during a snowstorm, well . . . bingo.

California freshman forward Justice Sueing

His grandfather Otis Sueing was a Marine in Vietnam, and felt as if he didn’t get justice while serving in the war. So he decided his next son would be Justice Sueing, who later named his son Justice Jr.

“He wanted to give me a name that meant something,” young Justice said. “It’s a way to live life to know what’s right and to be a good person.”

Appalachian State sophomore guard O’Showen Williams

This gets a little complicated. The O comes from his father Owen. The next two letters for mother Shawn, and the last four for his father. Wait, there’s more. It’s pronounced O-Shawn in homage to his mother. Got all that?

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Loyola (Md.) freshman forward River Reed

His parents just liked the name. But since he’s from San Antonio, let’s propose the theory that they decided it while strolling the River Walk.

Wake Forest freshman forward Sunday Okeke

It’s easy to guess what you’re thinking. But no, he was actually born on a Saturday. Maybe his parents just waited a day to name him.

Pittsburgh freshman center Peace Ilegomah

A product of a spiritual family. That includes his mother, Blessing. And one of his brothers, Destiny.

Now the returnees, many of them with games as good as their names.

Tennessee junior forward Admiral Schofield

His father – a Navy man – wanted an officer in the house. Admiral is the leading rebounder and second in scoring for the surprising Volunteers. And when anyone says the royalty in SEC basketball is Kentucky, he can always point out he’s probably the only player in the nation born in the same London hospital as Prince William.

Middle Tennessee senior guard Giddy Potts

He’s still throwing in 3-ponters for the Blue Raiders, having earned his name as a bubbly little kid, and earned his Middle Tennessee legacy as the guy who toppled Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament a couple of years ago.

UTEP senior guard Omega Harris

The co-leading scorer for the Miners got his name from his father, who got his name from his father. And if Omega ever wants to start his own fraternity, maybe he can team up with... 

Providence sophomore guard Alpha Diallo

He was first born, so his grandfather’s name fit. Now he’s the second leading scorer for the Friars.

Stetson senior guard Divine Myles

Fooled the doctors and beat the odds as a baby, so his mother wanted to make her gratitude impossible to miss. Which is why it’s Divine Miracle Myles who is leading the Hatters in scoring.

North Carolina sophomore guard Seventh Woods

Right out of Genesis and the Lord resting on the seventh day, it’s Seventh Day’Vonte Woods. He was pretty tired of resting, having missed a chunk of the season with injury.

Massachusetts redshirt freshman guard Unique McLean

For self-explanatory first names, he’s hard to beat.

Georgia Southern junior guard Tookie Brown

Or would you prefer the full name for the Eagles’ leading scorer, Quindarious Deavundre Brown? His grandmother came up with Tookie, which fits a lot easier in a game program.

SMU junior guard Shake Milton

The Mustangs leading scorer should be a favorite of dairy farmers everywhere. They called his father the Milkman during his playing days at Texas A&M. He’s a quart off the old block.

Michigan State senior guard Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn Jr.

When he graduates, the Spartans veteran is going directly into the Name Hall of Fame. The first part of his name pays homage to a singer, the next to a character from the movie “3 Ninjas.” Big Ten announcers everywhere will miss him.

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Houston junior center Valentine Sangoyomi

You’re probably not shocked to learn his birthday is Wednesday.

Mike Lopresti is a member of the US Basketball Writers Hall of Fame, Ball State journalism Hall of Fame and Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame. He has covered college basketball for 43 years, including 38 Final Fours. He is so old he covered Bob Knight when he had dark hair and basketball shorts were actually short.
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