Saturday, February 4, 2006

Rush leaning toward return — for now


If Brandon Rush had to decide today, he likely would choose another year of college over the NBA.

"My mom thinks I should stay another year," Rush, Kansas University's talented freshman guard from Kansas City, Mo., said Friday. "I'm probably going to listen to her advice.

"I'm probably going to take her advice. She knows what's best for me."

Two of Glenda Rush's sons left college early, with mixed results. JaRon exited UCLA after two seasons and went undrafted. Kareem left Missouri after three seasons and now draws a huge paycheck with the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats.

"When JaRon was trying to leave, he didn't listen to her (Glenda)," Brandon Rush said. "You know what ended up happening. I learned a lesson from that."

Rush is hearing a stay-in-school message from somebody else, too.

"My brother Kareem thinks I should stay another year, too. I don't know why. He just tells me to stay. He doesn't want his little brother making more money than he does," Rush said, laughing.

Rush, who has averaged 14.6 points a game heading into Sunday's noon battle against Oklahoma at Allen Fieldhouse, admits it has been tougher to concentrate of late with NBA talk cropping up more and more. The deadline for declaring is still a long way off -- April 29.

"It's coming up a lot now," Rush said. "I'm hearing from my brothers, my mother, the paper. It's coming from everywhere now."

Rush said he would not make a decision on his draft status until exploring the issue after the season.

If he learns he'll be a sure top-20 pick, "I'll think about it (leaving)," Rush said.

"Coach told me to black it out and concentrate on the season, help the team as much as I can. I am focusing on the team and what we can accomplish. We are getting better every game."

KU coach Bill Self said he last talked in depth with Rush about the NBA back in August, when Rush was picking a college.

"I feel his focus has been at Kansas and trying to get better. I don't know where his head is right now," Self said. "Based on what everybody tells me, his head is right where it should be -- focused on winning games and making winning plays. His focus is not after Sunday or after March. Right now, his focus is today. Whatever he decides to do, I hope he does it because it's best for he and his family over time. I think the jury is still out on what that is."

Rush admits he's not the greatest student and dropped his English class last semester after failing to catch up from his late enrollment.

Would he be up for another year of classwork?

"I think I could handle it a little bit ... with a lot of help," he said with a grin. "I like school. I like meeting new people. It's been a lot of fun. School has not been as bad as I thought."

  • MU hogs: An unselfish player, Rush was asked about his brother Kareem's days at Missouri.

"He had a couple of ball hogs on his team," Rush said. "No one is unselfish here. We're all trying to help the whole team."

  • OU tough inside: KU's inside players face a tough task Sunday in trying to stop OU inside players Taj Gray and Kevin Bookout.

Julian Wright and Sasha Kaun will start, Self said, and be relieved by Darnell Jackson, Christian Moody and the slumping C.J. Giles.

"It's confidence with him," Self said of Giles. "He needs to have something good happen for him. He was our best big guy in practice the other day. Hopefully he can build off that and take baby steps to get to the point he was in October and November."

Self was asked if Giles, who has averaged 6.7 points and 5.2 boards a game, had his mind on the NBA earlier this season.

"Based on what I've read, he had gone through phases early in the season he thought this could be it for him," Self said of playing at KU just two seasons, then turning pro.

"That can't even register. I hope he finishes strong. He's averaging seven points and five rebounds a game. If his focus was that, it's obviously not working. His focus has to be winning basketball, being happy here and enjoying the experience. I think he's doing that. C.J. is still our most talented big guy without question. Hopefully he'll play at that talent level real soon. I don't think after this year is even a concern of his right now."

  • He's from Sooner State: Darnell Jackson, who hails from Oklahoma, says bragging rights are on the line Sunday. "I did grow up a Sooner fan. It'll be fun, be a good game Sunday. The lights will come on, and may the best team win."
  • Recruits: KU signee Sherron Collins, a 5-foot-11 guard from Chicago's Crane High, will attend Sunday's game. Darrell Arthur, a 6-9 senior forward from Dallas, may attend on an unofficial visit. He's considering KU, Indiana, SMU and others.

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