Brandon Rush is in no hurry to abandon his trusty black knee brace.
"I like it," Rush, Kansas University's junior guard/forward, said of the medical instrument that provides support to his surgically repaired right knee.
Rush - his bounce is improving every day, as evidenced by his reverse breakaway dunk in Tuesday's victory at Georgia Tech - is welcome to wear the brace the whole season if he so desires, coach Bill Self said.
"I think the medical staff told him they wanted him to wear it through December into January. After that, it's up to Brandon," Self said. "The brace is not something keeping him from moving or anything. If he wants to wear it, I'm fine with it. If he wants to take it off, I'm fine with that, too. It's not inhibiting his progress at all."
Rush surprised a lot of people by his spinning dunk that gave KU a 53-40 lead with 12:46 left.
"I guarantee you that's the first time he's done that in a year," Self said. "Good thing he made it. I thought at the time, 'What is he doing?' Because he hadn't practiced anything like that in a year. So he's obviously feeling a lot better."
Balance: Seven different players have led KU in scoring in the Jayhawks' 11 victories.
"Nobody else in the country has had that," Self said. "That's the strength of our team. The guys are not hung up on shooting the ball or getting off so many attempts or scoring so many points. I think we're harder to guard having balance than if we had one or two guys take all the important shots."
Darrell Arthur (team-leading 13.2 ppg) and Mario Chalmers (12.6) have led KU in scoring in three games. Rush, Sherron Collins, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun and Russell Robinson are the others to top the box score.
"It's the biggest thing for our team now, being balanced," Rush said. "It just depends who is hot that night."
Fan talk: Self realizes the student section probably won't be full for Saturday's noon home game against 6-4 Miami of Ohio. The students have not filled their 4,000 seats in most games this season despite the fact they've purchased tickets.
"We've got great student support. We've got a core group of 1,000 or 1,500 that are just fantastic each and every game," Self said. "Other than the core group, we haven't had as many students come to the games as in years past. That is evident by looking up in the (northwest) corner.
"The Arizona game where the students didn't show was the thing that was most obvious (about 1,500 seats were vacant). That was a game we expected a packed house ... The students that are there have been awesome. The numbers haven't been what they have been in years past."
Some KU students have complained about the fact they now have their IDs swiped electronically - instead of having paper tickets - which may cut down on them giving tickets to friends on the nights they don't want to attend.
"I think it's a trend across America. A lot of things are going on. It could be your home schedule, could be a lot of things," Self said. "The Arizona game was probably in large part because of the football game the night before (KU-Missouri)."
All seats are sold in 16,300-seat Allen Fieldhouse. In fact, some seats actually get sold twice. Williams Fund members/season ticket holders normally are able to purchase additional tickets for nonconference games when the athletic department deems the student section/general admission seats will not all be occupied.
The players have noticed the absence of students.
"We don't know why the seats aren't full, but we know that we have a lot of fans out there supporting us even when we play on TV or we don't play on TV. I'm glad about fans coming to the fieldhouse supporting us," Darnell Jackson said. "It's not disheartening at all. The fans support us, and we should do the same back."
Holiday season: KU's players will head home for the holiday after Saturday's game and return on Dec. 26. Kaun, who is from Tomsk, Russia, will visit a family in upstate New York that sponsored him during his days at Florida Air Academy. Robinson, who hails from the Bronx, N.Y., will stay in Lawrence. "I'll probably relax at my place. I've got my tree up and everything, probably watch a movie," Robinson said.