Former Kansas University basketball player Brandon Rush did not tell the truth to his college coach or the media 31⁄2 years ago when asked how he suffered a devastating right knee injury that resulted in ACL surgery and six months of rehab.
Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday quoted the third-year Indiana Pacers guard as saying he hurt his knee in a secret workout with New York Knicks director of East Coast scouting Rodney Heard in Atlanta.
The workout, which also involved other college players who had declared for the draft but had not signed with an agent, circumvented NBA rules, Yahoo! Sports reported, because it was held before the annual pre-draft camp.
NCAA rules permitted Rush to attend workouts with NBA teams — up until the draft’s early withdrawal date — as long as he had not signed with an agent.
Because he had not inked with an agent, Rush was allowed to return to KU for his junior year as he battled back from ACL surgery.
“Brandon initially told us he hurt his knee in Kansas City,” KU coach Bill Self said in Adrian Wojnarowski’s Yahoo! Sports story. “And later, he told us that was inaccurate and that it happened the day prior, while he was in North Carolina (where he played in prep school). We heard about the workouts in Atlanta, and we asked Brandon if he had worked out there and he said, ‘No,’ that he was injured when he got there.”
Self expounded on the matter Tuesday in an interview with the Journal-World.
“The only thing that disappoints me at all (in article which mainly focused on Knicks hosting illegal NBA workouts) is the fact we were told one thing and Brandon said something else happened, and why he would mislead us, I have no idea,” Self said.
“We even called to verify what he told us was true, that he did not work out (in Atlanta) and that the person in question (Heard) was not there, so that’s disappointing he didn’t tell us the truth. Why, I don’t know, because I don’t think it had anything to do with anything. Certainly we had multiple people telling us he wasn’t there (working out in Atlanta).
“He had declared (for draft). It was legal for him to do whatever (at NBA workouts). When he came back, obviously then he falls under NCAA guidelines.”
Yahoo! Sports says Rush “was vague when asked about why he originally said the injury had happened in Kansas City, as well as the circumstances around his traveling to Atlanta to work out for Heard.”
“I heard some guys were down there (in Georgia) working out, and I thought it would be best for me to go down and try some stuff out,” Rush told Yahoo. “I went down to Atlanta and I was supposed to be there for a week. It happened the first day … in the first 15 minutes (going up for dunk in a three-man weave drill).”
Rush flew back to Kansas City, told Self of the injury and had surgery on June 5, 2007.
“To me, that’s not something that’s worth misleading anyone over. If it happened, it happened. If it didn’t, it didn’t,” Self told the Journal-World.
“If that was going on and a kid had declared and had not signed with an agent, I think we’d have every right to be disappointed and upset with an NBA franchise if they were doing that. At the time we certainly didn’t think that was the case because we were told they weren’t (holding workouts),” Self added.
Self said he didn’t “have any concern” about Rush’s actions violating NCAA rules. “Even if he would have been working out (in Atlanta) I don’t know where the violation would have been. I think the violation would have only been with the NBA team, certainly not with Brandon or the college team,” Self said.
Yahoo! Sports wrote that the Knicks “never asked him to change his story about the injury happening in Atlanta with Heard, but multiple sources said his family and advisers worried about his college eligibility and believed he needed to keep the story quiet until he left Kansas for the NBA.”
Yahoo! Sports sources said the only way Rush’s collegiate eligibility could be questioned was if an agent paid for his trip to Atlanta for the workout. Rush did not sign with an agent until after his junior season when he officially declared for the draft, a year after the Atlanta workout, which followed his soph campaign.
“Nobody has ever thought that for a second,” Self said of Rush having representation before the conclusion of his junior season.
As far as the main subject of the Yahoo! Sports story ... Heard denied he was present in Atlanta when Rush suffered the knee injury.
“That’s so far from the truth,” Heard told Yahoo. “Someone called me and told me he got hurt. I was in Florida at our staff meetings.”
When told that Rush said he was running the workout, Heard responded: “I wasn’t there. That’s a lie.”
Scrimmage “average”: The Jayhawks held a scrimmage with officials Monday. It was closed to the media and public.
“Average at best,” KU coach Self assessed. “We don’t guard anybody. Tyrel (Reed) and Marcus (Morris) were both really good. Nobody else stood out. It was just average at best,” he repeated.
Self said he hoped Jeff Withey (foot) and Markieff Morris (hernia) would return to practice this weekend. The Jayhawks open the two-game exhibition season against Washburn at 7 p.m., Tuesday, in Allen Fieldhouse.
Walk-on update: Self said no walk-ons from Sunday’s tryouts would be added to the roster. In all, 14 hopefuls showed for workouts with assistant coach Danny Manning.
“Our coaches told me they worked very hard,” Self said. “With what our needs are now, we need some size. There wasn’t a lot of size out there that could make us better.”
Selby, Selby, Selby: It was a big day on the Josh Selby rumor front on Tuesday. A poster on an Internet message board first cited anonymous sources as saying Selby had been cleared for full participation in games by the NCAA.
Next, Andy Katz of ESPN tweeted: “Kansas hopes to hear about Josh Selby’s eligibility soon. Translation? No one has an exact date yet, just like Enes Kanter at Kentucky.”
Thirdly, asked for an update amid the Internet rumors, a KU official told the Journal-World that nothing had changed regarding Selby’s status.
Finally, a sportsillustrated.com item by Pablo S. Torre shed some additional insight into a possible holdup on Selby’s academic status.
“Selby is being investigated by both the NCAA’s Eligibility Center — in part concerning night classes he took for credit in high school, sources tell SI — and by its Agent, Gambling and Amateurism division because of his relationship with fellow Baltimorean Robert (Bay) Frazier, who has served as an adviser to the family.”
It has indeed been believed for some time now that Selby’s academic status has been the main holdup, moreso than amateurism questions. Self and KU officials have declined comment on specifics regarding Selby’s case.
Happy birthday to Nick: Former KU forward Nick Collison of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who turned 30 on Tuesday, had this to say on Twitter: “Thanks for all the bday wishes. They say 30 is the new 20. So I am looking for a house party and putting off writing this western civ paper.”