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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Keegan: Rush fit at KU? You bet

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He didn't care enough to stay eligible in high school. His brother made a verbal commitment to Kansas University, never signed, and infuriated Roy Williams by calling him, of all things, Roy.

Even if Brandon Rush does commit to KU, he's probably going to jump to the NBA after a year, anyway, by which time he'll be 21.

So, why in the world is Bill Self even recruiting the third of the famous Kansas City Rush brothers?

Because Self hasn't lost his mind, that's why.

You get a chance to make a special recruiting class that much better, you don't look for reasons not to do it. You get it done. Rush, a candidate to play this season if he meets the requirements of the NCAA Clearinghouse, arrived Sunday on the KU campus and will conclude his 48-hour visit today.

The more you think about it, the more it seems odd landing him is considered a longshot for the Jayhawks. The chance to join Mario Chalmers, Micah Downs and Julian Wright to form the nation's best recruiting class should be enticement enough.

If that abundance of talent eats into Rush's scoring opportunities, all the better for his future, according to one respected talent evaluator.

Nearly half of the NBA teams subscribe to Clib Hoops, a scouting service run by Philadelphia-based Jim Clibanoff, who said he had seen "plenty of" Rush the past couple of years.

"You can get by on athleticism on the prep-school level," Clibanoff said. "Viewed at the pro level, you have to show you have a comprehension of how to play the game. If he could show an ability to mesh with the other good players he would be with at Kansas, that would be more what the pros would be looking for than if he went somewhere and dominated as a scorer."

Clibanoff has seen Rush and each of KU's incoming freshmen numerous times.

"I'd say Rush is the one the NBA teams are most likely to focus on for next year's draft," Clibanoff said. "As far as down the road, I think Wright has a chance to be the most special player of the four."

Indiana, which has lost its sizzle since Bob Knight's coaching genius and wild temper departed, and Illinois, which would have been a cooler place to play a year ago, are considered the most serious competitors for Rush. USC, too far, and Oklahoma, a national-title contender, haven't been counted out.

USC would seem a strange choice considering Brandon's brother Kareem stayed close to home at Mizzou and is getting richer by the minute as a successful NBA player. JaRon went all the way out to UCLA and flopped.

Brandon Rush signs with KU, and his mother and grandmother can see all his home games at Allen Fieldhouse.

Why not KU?

Imagine this scenario: Rush wants to play close to home but decides not to commit to KU because he envisions it will stir up all the old stories about JaRon and his shady AAU coach, Myron Piggie.

Brandon would be wrong if he's thinking that. He becomes the anchor leg of a Fab Four recruiting class, all those old stories become ancient history, and Rush no longer is a nasty four-letter word in these parts.

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