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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

KU’s higher ranking ‘good sign’

Jayhawks up to No. 16; Jackson feeling better

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Kansas University's men's basketball team jumped to No. 16 in the Associated Press rankings and No. 18 in the USA Today/ESPN poll Monday, up from 22 in both polls last week.

"It's just a number to me, same as 22," freshman guard/forward Brandon Rush said. "It changes when you get to number one. That's when it really matters. Sixteen is great, though."

"It's good for us. We've been ranked two weeks in a row now. It's a good sign for us," freshman guard Mario Chalmers said.

Jackson feeling better: Sophomore power forward Darnell Jackson said the flu-like symptoms that limited him to six minutes against Missouri on Saturday had gone away.

"I don't know what it was. I had stomach pain. It was hurting," Jackson said. "They gave me some medicine to coat my stomach, calm me down. After a couple days, it went away."

Floater works: Rush on Monday was asked to identify his strength on the basketball court.

"Right now, it's my little teardrop floater," he said of his shot in the lane, one that Chalmers also has patented. "I've got that down pat."

Is there any way to stop it? "Nah," Rush said. "I can shoot it over big guys. The only way to stop it is not let me get that close in."

Chalmers excelling: KU freshman guard Chalmers averages 15.2 points and 4.9 assists in Big 12 Conference games - 10.8 points and 3.9 assists overall. He has 66 steals.

"I tell him he's got the trigger finger. He likes to gun a lot," Rush joked of Chalmers, who has made 86 of 199 shots and 29 of 89 threes. "He's a real good kid. He can score. He's a good passer, too," Rush said.

Rush said he had seen a change since the first 11 games when Chalmers came off the bench.

"He was mad he wasn't starting - mad he wasn't playing like he is now," Rush said.

Of his own progress, Chalmers said: "I came back with a different mindset after Christmas. I started listening to what coach said instead of doing my own thing. Coach talked to me about picking up the scoring, being more a leader on the team. When coach tells you you have to change your mindset, you have to pick it up."

Red jerseys in mothballs: Self was asked on his HawkTalk radio show if the team would wear its red jerseys in any of its remaining games.

"We might," he said. "Coach is not real superstitious but he has certain routines that work a lot better than others. We've played pretty well in white and blue.

"We didn't get the red ones until Christmas. They may come out, may not. It's not my primary concern right now. I wouldn't hold my breath in the near future."

The Jayhawks were ticketed to wear white tonight, he said.

BU coach Scott Drew on facing powerful KU: "No doubt they are the hottest team in the league. They have a lot of different weapons and have progressed as the season has gone along.

"They are as good as anybody in the country. It's a special place to play," he said of Allen Fieldhouse. "We'll have to bring our A game to have a chance to stay in the game."

Recruiting: KU, which has signed Sherron Collins and Brady Morningstar, still has two scholarships to award in recruiting.

"Whether we will fill both ... probably doubtful," said Self, who is after Darrell Arthur, 6-9 from Dallas. "We could sign two and still not be full depending if anything happens with our personnel after the season. I don't anticipate having 13 on scholarship next year. It could happen."

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