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Archive for Thursday, May 4, 2006

Rush didn’t agonize over NBA

May 4, 2006

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Brandon Rush didn't lounge around his Jayhawker Towers apartment Saturday night watching the clock while debating whether to enter his name in the NBA Draft at the last minute.

"Nah : I was just chilling, watching TV," Rush, Kansas University's 6-foot-6 freshman guard from Kansas City, Mo., said Wednesday at Allen Fieldhouse.

He has no idea why rumors circulated that he might declare for the June 28 draft just prior to Saturday's 11:59 p.m. deadline.

"A couple of weeks after the loss to Bradley, I told the whole team I was going to come back, to try to go for it (national title in 2007)," Rush said of the moment he for sure decided to return for his sophomore season. "I don't know why people were thinking differently. I knew what I was thinking and what I told my team and coaches what I wanted to do."

Rush, who averaged a team-leading 13.5 points and 5.9 rebounds for 25-8 Kansas, said immediately after the March 17 loss to Bradley and again after an April 10 postseason awards celebration that he was committed to returning.

Why didn't he waver and join the 63 college underclassmen whose names were on the NBA early entry list released Wednesday by the league?

"There's too many guys in the draft right now," Rush said.

In all, 30 international athletes also have tossed their names in the draft hat.

"It'd be hard to be a draft pick. I wanted to come back and finish unfinished business. College is fun," Rush added. "I like college. I don't want to leave so early, I enjoy college so much."

He looked in the direction of the fieldhouse court where teammates Jeremy Case, Sasha Kaun, C.J. Giles, Darnell Jackson, Julian Wright and others had gathered for a mid-afternoon workout.

"They are people you can go out with, hang around with all day and just come out and play every day. It's a pretty good thing," Rush said of bonding with teammates.

He said he was not concerned any of his teammates would declare for the draft.

Some draft sites incorrectly reported that freshmen Mario Chalmers and Wright seriously were pondering entering the draft as late as last week.

"My teammates are honest. I'm sure they'd have told me if they were going to put their name in," Rush said.

Rush said Wright probably could have tested the draft waters successfully.

"Everybody is pretty high on Julian," Rush said. "He's been saying since the beginning he's going to stay three or four years. I'm pretty sure he will. He likes college so much, too."

Rush said it was not a certainty he'd leave after his sophomore season.

He said he wasn't surprised to see Iowa State's Will Blalock and Curtis Stinson and Colorado's Richard Roby on the early entry list.

"I think it's a good move for them," Rush said. "Blalock and Stinson's coach (Wayne Morgan) is leaving. That's probably the main reason they put their name in. Roby had a good season."

Rush, who had a strong rookie campaign, admits he struggled at season's end. He scored in double figures in three of KU's last seven games, including just 36 points in four postseason games (three Big 12 tourney, one NCAA).

"I guess after the Texas game I felt I was not confident in my shot any more," Rush said of KU's Feb. 25 loss at Texas, in which he scored three points off 1-of-8 shooting. "I played so bad on a big stage so I guess it carried over."

Rush has gone to work on his game since the loss to Bradley, constantly working on his suspect left hand.

"Every workout, they make me go left," Rush said of the coaches. "Every time we do different drills, they have me go left to dribble, to pull up, to go to the rack. I think I am getting better. I can use my left hand more now than I did the whole season."

KU coach Bill Self has been impressed with Rush's practice habits since season's end.

"He is improving at a rapid rate," Self said. "They all are. We've had a good spring."

Rush will attend first session of summer school. After that?

"I will go out to L.A. and be with my brother (Kareem), work out and chill, get out of Lawrence. I've got to get away a little bit," he added with a grin. "The weather here is crazy. It's going crazy right now, sunny one day, raining the next. I'll go to Cali, lay on the beach, look at the cute girls."

¢ KU officials angrily responded Wednesday to a Kansas City radio talk-show report alleging the KU athletic department expressed "concern" to Big 12 officials over Kansas State's recruitment of high school junior basketball player Michael Beasley.

"Ridiculous, ludicrous. That did not happen," KU associate AD Jim Marchiony said of KU registering a complaint about KSU.

Self also said Wednesday he had no complaints about KSU recruiting.

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