Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rush announcement expected Friday

April 26, 2007


Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self, who has a bunch of friends and associates in the NBA, gathered a stack of information on sophomore standout Brandon Rush the past couple of weeks.

Wednesday afternoon, Self presented the results of his labor to Rush, who has until midnight Sunday to decide whether to enter his name in the NBA Draft.

"He took the information. He'll chew on it awhile and probably have an announcement ... well, there's no probably, (he) will have an announcement by the end of the week," Self said after meeting with KU's leading scorer for two-plus hours in Self's office.

The announcement probably will come Friday, said Self, who will hit the recruiting trail Friday afternoon or evening, "but if it drags to Saturday ... you've got to do it before Sunday," he indicated.

"This was not any deal where we said, 'This is what you should do.' We gave him information, and we said all along based on the information he received, he'd make a decision best for him and his family, and so hopefully he'll digest some things and we can go from there."

Rush - who could declare for the draft and not hire an agent and withdraw by June 18 - has said he definitely would leave college if assured top-20 status. There are 30 picks in Round One.

"We laid everything out to him, and he did not express what would determine his decision. He said, a long time ago, top 20," Self said. "Being very candid, it would be difficult for him to be top 20 from all the number of good underclassmen that's already come out (35). Still I'm not saying it couldn't happen."

So where would Rush be tapped?

"I'm not going to go into what people have told me, but it's definitely a loaded draft," Self said.

"Whenever the commissioner says this is probably going to be the strongest draft ever, it's definitely going to be strong. It's not just about where people see him. It's about doing something that would benefit him over time."

Rush, who did not speak to the media after the meeting, has admitted there's a risk - as far as limited playing time - if he's selected between 20 and 30. Philadelphia (picks 21 and 30) and New York (23) are the only teams between 20-30 that did not make the playoffs.

"To me that should be a big factor. What gives you the best chance to get to a second contract (after three years). Absolutely," Self said.

"That's the whole decision I think there is to be made. What gives you the best chance to make a career out of it. Weigh the positives and negatives because you can certainly make a case either way."

If Rush returns, he will be marketed as one of the top returning players in the country, and KU will be a certain preseason top-five team.

"We talked about all that stuff. He'd be right there," Self said.

Waiting on the first-team all Big 12 performer has put recruiting on hold.

The Jayhawks have one scholarship to give if Rush leaves; none if he stays.

"I'll be real honest. It hasn't been positive," Self said of the effect on recruiting. "We care enough about Brandon that he should have waited to gather information if he wasn't comfortable. It has not helped us recruiting because we certainly had opportunities to fill that scholarship. But now, those opportunities are very, very limited."

Self said if Rush declares without an agent - which Self said would be Rush's intention if he elects to leave - he would consider signing another player to replace Rush.

"I would do what's best for the program. What's best for the program is not demanding (Rush to decide quickly)," Self said. "I'd do what's best for Brandon. But on the flip side, you also have to look at your entire program. If there's nobody to recruit, then certainly we won't have to make that decision. If there's somebody to recruit, then you may have to make a decision. The pool of recruits has shrunk drastically in the last month. It will continue to shrink even more. There's not many guys out there that we're aware of."

¢Web report doesn't faze Self: Self and Rush did not discuss Tuesday's report that indicated Rush already had decided to enter his name in the draft minus an agent.

"That never came up. I hear false reports every day," Self said. "There are so many things that are reported on that are 1,000-percent inaccurate. And there's a lot of things that are reported that are accurate. I'm not too concerned with what an NBA Web site thinks. I could care less to be honest with you. The thing about the Web sites, nobody has to take ownership, and they can come back and say, 'I missed on that one, I made a mistake, my source was wrong.'"

A reporter mentioned to Self that "where there is smoke" as in the Rush report, there's often "fire."

"That's not true. There's no fire with 'Shady,'" Self said of rumors that Darrell Arthur is thinking about putting his name in the draft. "I talked to his mom. She said (jokingly), 'You all will be so sick of me (coming to games next year).' He's definitely coming back."

¢Early entrants expected nowadays: Self, who has already lost Julian Wright to the draft, says he's not frustrated by players bolting early.

"I hope we will have to deal with it (in future) because that means we'll probably win a lot of games" Self said. "When Brandon announced to come here, we thought we'd have him for a year, and it turns into two, and now he's contemplating whether to go or give us a third. Brandon Rush has done nothing wrong, except what he said he was going to do from the first day he arrived."


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