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Archive for Saturday, October 8, 2005

Rush thrilled to see Boot Camp end

October 8, 2005

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A visibly fatigued Brandon Rush trudged Friday morning toward an Allen Fieldhouse exit after surviving the final session of Bill Self's two-week basketball Boot Camp.

"Hey, Brandon," third-year Kansas University coach Self called to the freshman guard, "what are you going to do this weekend? Sleep?"

"Yes, coach ... sleep the whole weekend," Rush said with a smile after he and his 13 teammates survived a series of 50 sprints - 30 "suicides" and 20 "22s" - that traditionally signal the end of Boot Camp.

Rush, a Kansas City, Mo., native, expressed thanks to roommate/KU student assistant Moulaye Niang for waking him up in time for 10 early morning workouts.

Rush also was relieved he made it through his first preseason Boot Camp.

"I am so glad it's over right now," said Rush, replying "yes" when asked if it was the toughest thing he had endured in his basketball career.

"I've never had to run this much. It was real tough, waking up every morning at 6:30 or 8:30 ... come out here and start running. It's really tough on somebody's body."

Rush, who with his new teammates passed Friday's conditioning tests, said he was proud to ace his own personal benchmark - being able to run, run and run some more without vomiting.

"Everybody said I'd be the main one to throw up. I proved everybody wrong," Rush said with a grin.

According to the Jayhawks, only Russell Robinson - who participated despite suffering from a stomach virus, and Darnell Jackson, who competed despite a bad back - became sick at any point during Boot Camp.

"Who did the best? I think I might hand that out to Steve," sophomore C.J. Giles said, referring to senior Stephen Vinson. "The worst? Julian (Wright) is still having a hard time (coming back from stress fracture in foot and bruised knee), but he tried hard. Everybody tried hard."

Sophomore Rodrick Stewart pointed to frosh guard/forward Micah Downs as the most stellar of the group, at least on the final day.

"The fastest guy was Micah. He came out today in the suicides ... he won the first 10," Stewart said. "Micah rolled his ankle three days ago and was out two days and still came back and ran past everybody."

A suicide is a sprint drill in which players start on the baseline then run to the half-court line and back, to the opposite free-throw line and back and the end line and back in 30 seconds. "22s" involve players starting on the end line and running down and back twice in a 22-second span.

Self praised his players, saying "collectively this by far was the best the guys have done in our three years here.

"The newcomers were scared to death. The returning guys gave 'em every reason to be nervous," Self added with a smile. "They (newcomers) thought, 'This is going to be a killer. We better do everything right,' which, for the most part, they did."

Self said freshmen Downs and Rush were "two of our most pleasant surprises from an effort standpoint.

"Micah can run all day," the coach gushed. "Brandon ... he wants it bad. I didn't know what to expect from Brandon. I know this ... he's probably done more in the last month than his whole athletic life as far as being pushed. He's responded well, but he's tired."

As is the entire team, which will be given time to recover next week as they rehearse for their skits for Friday's season-opening Late Night in the Phog.

"It wasn't as bad as my freshman year, because I know the system," Giles concluded of Boot Camp.

"My freshman year, that alarm clock would ring at 4:15. I got so mad I'd yell. I'd hit my bed and say, 'I don't want to get up.' I hated getting out of that bed at 4:15 trying to get on the court at 5:45. This year we didn't have to get up so early (6:15 a.m. five times; the rest an hour or so later). It was really hard on the freshmen. Next year, they'll be saying it about the other freshmen."

Still, Giles is relieved Boot Camp finally is over.

"I'm just happy. I'll be happy all day, probably the whole weekend," he said.

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