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Archive for Friday, February 13, 1998

ON RUSH

February 13, 1998

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Those who follow recruiting for a living applauded coach Roy Williams' decision to dump JaRon Rush as a Kansas University men's basketball recruit.

``Good for Roy Williams. I congratulate him,'' recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons said Thursday after learning Williams had erased Rush's name from KU's list of prep prospects.

``When a kid calls coach Williams `Roy' I think it shows a lack of respect. It's a problem we have today in society. Values, morals are declining. I don't think it's a JaRon Rush problem, it's a national problem,'' Gibbons added.

On Tuesday, Kansas City (Mo.) Pembroke Hill guard Rush, who verbally committed to KU last November, reopened his recruiting because ``Roy substitutes too much for me.''

Rush also appeared on a Kansas City radio show Wednesday, praising UCLA while again criticizing KU's style of play. It all was too much for Williams, who removed Kansas' scholarship offer rather than wait for Rush to possibly re-commit himself during the April signing period.

``I think Roy Williams has returned some integrity to the recruiting game. I don't know Roy Williams, but I am proud of him today,'' recruiting analyst Mike Sullivan said.

``Too many coaches out there will sell their souls to get a player like JaRon Rush. It's like the NBA where players tell coaches what to do. Top high school players are telling college coaches what to do.

``Roy Williams did his job. He recruited Rush because he is from the area. But when he saw some things he didn't like, he removed himself from the situation. I think Roy Williams may be one of a kind. Not many coaches would drop the kid,'' Sullivan stressed.

Coincidentally, this isn't the first time Williams dropped a KC prep as a recruit. Remember Derek Hood? Williams removed his offer when the KC Central prep played a bit too hard to get, canceling a visit to KU's Late Night With Roy Williams for Cal's Midnight Madness. Hood eventually signed with Arkansas.

``No one kid is bigger than a college program,'' Sullivan said. ``I get sick of some of the stories. Ronald Curry committed to Virginia on September 4. He immediately started scheduling other visits and is visiting North Carolina this weekend.''

Yet Virginia hasn't dropped Curry as a recruit.

To be fair, Myron Piggie, Rush's former AAU coach, claims KU didn't dump Rush -- he says Rush dumped KU for UCLA two weeks ago, but didn't announce that decision.

``Everybody needs to give this kid credit for deciding to go to UCLA,'' Piggie said. ``This is a blessing for JaRon. By leaving home he will mature as a man, just like Korleone (Young) and my son did this year going out of state to play.''

Myron Piggie Jr., of Pembroke Hill, and Korleone Young, 6-foot-8 from Wichita East, who both played for Piggie's AAU team last summer, transferred to Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., this school year.

Piggie signed with UNLV first semester. Young, who had been considering Kansas and several other schools, has also committed to UNLV, the Las Vegas Sun reported Thursday.

``Korleone has not committed anywhere. But he is not going to KU. No way,'' Piggie said Thursday.

Piggie says KU can also forget about recruiting Rush's brother, Kareem, a Pembroke Hill junior.

``He'll never consider KU,'' Piggie said.

Why not?

``It all started with Earl Watson,'' Piggie said, indicating the Rush brothers are upset KU didn't offer Watson a scholarship during the early signing period last year. Watson, a former KC Washington player, signed with UCLA last November, despite the fact KU tried to set up a second-semester visit with the player.

Whatever ... the Jayhawks, who have signed point guard Jeff Boschee, have three scholarships remaining, four if Paul Pierce turns pro.

Possiblities: Dennis Gates, 6-4 from Chicago Whitney Young High. He's a teammate of Quentin Richardson, who signed with DePaul over KU in November; Dan Gadzuric, 6-10, Byfield, Mass.; Brandon Dean, 6-1, Monroe, La.; Baton Rouge, La., teammates Jermaine Williams (6-7) and Marcus Ledoux (6-8); Preston Shumpert, 6-7, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; John Salmons, 6-6, Plymouth Meeting, Pa. And maybe John Crider, 6-4, from Horton.

``Roy Williams will put together a good recruiting class,'' Gibbons said.

One has to wonder how many recruiting classes KU's coach will want to put together. The NBA's millions might seem more and more tempting with recruiting growing seedier and seedier with each passing year.

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