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Archive for Friday, February 3, 2006

Rush making his mark

Freshman likely to become active career scoring leader

February 3, 2006

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In what is partly a testament to Brandon Rush's ability and also a strong sign of Kansas University's youth, Rush, KU's freshman guard out of Kansas City, Mo., soon figures to become the Jayhawks' active career leading scorer.

Rush, who is KU's only double-digit producer at 14.6 points per game, has 295 points his rookie year. The 6-foot-6 guard is just three points back of Christian Moody, who has scored 298 points in four seasons.

Sophomore Russell Robinson has totaled 261 career points, senior Jeff Hawkins 243 and sophomore Sasha Kaun 254.

A year ago, KU had three players with over 1,000 career points - Keith Langford (1,812), Wayne Simien (1,593) and Aaron Miles (1,183).

Rush ranks 13th in the Big 12 in scoring - eighth in conference games only at an 18.0 clip. The only other league freshman in sight is KU guard Mario Chalmers, who ranks 13th in conference games (14.6 ppg). Overall, Chalmers is averaging 9.5 points per contest.

Rush also leads the Jayhawks (14-6 overall, 5-2 Big 12 Conference) in rebounding (6.0) and three-point field-goal percentage (52.5 percent, 31 of 59), while ranking fourth in field-goal percentage at a robust 52.4 percent (110 of 210).

"Well, he could be one of the premier players around, there's no doubt about that," KU coach Bill Self said, asked about Rush's potential for growth. "How many freshmen are shooting basically 50 percent from three and 52 overall and close to 80 percent from the line (74.5) and leading the team in rebounds? He has got impressive numbers.

"He still has another step to take. If he is able to get to that next step, I think he'll be one of the premier players around," Self added.

Rush has come a long way in a short period of time.

"He's always been a talented guy," Self said. "The biggest thing with him is he was a talented guy who knew he didn't know (anything about college basketball).

"There's so many young kids come in school and think they have an idea what the game is about, what they need to be doing to be the team's best player. This guy said, 'I don't know, teach me.'

"He's been a treat to coach. He's become a very solid defender, at times very good. He's a pretty good rebounder. He's always been able to score decently. He's not as aggressive as he should be. He's too passive in the crucial times of the game, but the biggest thing is he's a sponge. He wants to learn."

¢More numbers: KU leads the country in field goal percentage defense at 35.8 percent. Texas, Bucknell and UConn are tied for second at 36.7.

KU is 22nd in field goal percentage. The Jayhawks have made 48.6 percent of their shots. KU is 34th in scoring offense (77.7 ppg) and 40th in scoring defense (61.5). The Jayhawks are fifth in the country in assists per game (18.5) and fifth in scoring margin (16.3 ppg).

Sunday's opponent, Oklahoma, is first in the Big 12 in rebound margin at plus 12.1. KU is third at plus 7.5. The Sooners are second in the league in offensive rebounds at 15.9 per game, while KU is fourth at 13.3. Kansas is first in defensive rebounds at 28.2. OU is seventh at 22.2.

¢RPI amendment: The NCAA amended its RPI ratings on Thursday. KU actually has an RPI of 60, not 58.

¢More on Micah: Ex-Jayhawk Micah Downs has officially enrolled at Gonzaga and has started attending class. He'll be eligible to play next December as a sophomore. He is not on scholarship this semester - Gonzaga is out of grants.

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