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Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Rush tapped All-American

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Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina led a preseason All-America team of underclassmen.

The 6-foot-9 sophomore forward was the top vote-getter Tuesday on the team chosen by the same panel that selects the Associated Press' weekly college basketball poll.

Joining Hansbrough were juniors Joakim Noah of Florida, Ronald Steele of Alabama and Glen Davis of LSU and sophomore Brandon Rush of Kansas University.

The 2006-07 team was decidedly different from the season before when four seniors and a junior were picked for the preseason honors.

Hansbrough was named on 65 of the 72 ballots, one more than Noah. Steele received 55 votes, while Davis had 51 and Rush 26.

Hansbrough was the key to North Carolina's surprising season that saw the Tar Heels go from unranked to 10th in the final poll. He averaged 18.9 points and 7.9 rebounds and made Carolina fans and coach Roy Williams very happy when he decided to return for a second season in Chapel Hill.

"There's a lot of things I want to accomplish as a team," Hansbrough said. "I had a good year, but I talked to coach and we both agreed there's a lot of things I could get better at individually. I'd like to go a little farther in the tournament and have a better ending.

"I've never really known a player to spend another year with coach Williams and get worse."

The 6-11 Noah was the star of Florida's run to its first national championship last season, averaging 14.2 points and 7.1 rebounds. His flowing hair and engaging smile has made him a fan favorite and his ever-improving talent has made the son of former tennis star Yannick Noah one of the country's top players.

"Don't expect to see Michael Jordan out there right now. There was so much hype around him at the end of the year. He's not Michael Jordan," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "I had an opportunity to show him the tape of every basket he scored last year. I think it was amazing for him to get a chance to see that he scored a lot of baskets just by hustling and working hard. He's not a great 3-point shooter. He's not a guy that's going to score a variety of different ways. He scored on being a great hustler, a great runner and a highly competitive kid. I've talked to him about not losing that. Sometimes you've got a kid like Joakim Noah coming back to college basketball and people expect to see Magic Johnson, Larry Bird or Michael Jordan. He is nothing remotely close to that. He's a very, very good player who's eager to get better."

Davis was hard to miss as LSU made its run to the Final Four. Known as "Big Baby," the 6-9 Davis played at 310 pounds last season, a number some thought may have been generous, and he was named Southeastern Conference player of the year, averaging 18.6 points and 9.7 rebounds.

It will be a much-different looking Davis this season as he has slimmed down considerably, losing about 50 pounds.

"I'm just eating healthier, but it's tough especially for a college student," he said this summer. "It's not like I eat crazy, it's just really, really difficult when you stay up late and do all that college stuff.

"I want to go into the NBA with experience, basically grown up," he said. "I don't want to sit for a couple of years. For now, I just want to establish myself in college basketball and win a national championship. It's all about winning."

The 6-3 Steele is the only true guard on the team. He averaged 14.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Crimson Tide last season, while averaging just over 40 minutes per game.

Rush, a 6-6 swingman, averaged 13.5 points and 5.9 rebounds last season for the Jayhawks.

UCLA junior guard Arron Afflalo was the next-leading voter-getter with 20.

Last year's preseason All-America team was seniors J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams of Duke, Dee Brown of Illinois and Craig Smith of Boston College along with junior Adam Morrison of Gonzaga.

Redick, Williams and Morrison were first-team selections after the season, while Brown was on the second team and Smith the third.

Comments

speedy 13 years, 2 months ago

spare me this voting before they play. br is not an all american. hes not even very good. he unreliable as a scorer. he has a long ways to go to live up to the hype. just another small forward.

Alan Mills 13 years, 2 months ago

Wow, and they thought I was negative. You may be right, though, speedy. I'm not exactly sure he's the best player on this team! Wright can do some sensational things at both ends. He seems a bit more consistant, too. We seem to have three other guards who can all play and play well. Arthur could turn out to be a force like Gooden. Does Rush really stand out that much amongst this group? "Not even very good" might not do him justice, but he may not be any more worthy of this "all-america" label than his teammates.

kcmostwanted 13 years, 2 months ago

Rush is good!...I think he just plays way too nervous...he needs some of Kobe Bryant's "i can do it all" attitude in him.. he needs to want to carry the team on his back and make the points when they really count....

but hey didn't we have a kid name J.R Giddens who wanted to shoot the ball 50 times a game, and everyone hated him?

actorman 13 years, 2 months ago

Rush is a good player, but he is WAY over-hyped. He is one of many good players on the KU team, several of whom I think are better than Rush at this point. For him to be a first-team All-American is ridiculous. It's just based on reputation.

hawkfan4life 13 years, 2 months ago

Congratulations B-Rush!!! Big shoes (expectations) to fill, but you can do it bro. Julian, you are a beast, keep hustling and playing as hard as you can. You should be getting some recognition too, by the end of this season everone will give you the respect you deserve! Rock Chalk!!!

CMKUbLu304 13 years, 2 months ago

congrats Brandon! now he just has to live up to it, and land that spot and the end of the season.. which I know he can if he plays hard the entire season and doesn't slack off.

Alec White 13 years, 2 months ago

I don't think that Rush will be an All-American this year, but only because he is an unselfish player who plays on a team that is loaded. For you guys to say he is not very good is crazy, since he shot nearly 50% from the field last year and averaged 13.5 pts per game on about 11 attempts per game. If he stayed near that rate and shot as much as J.J. Redick last year, he would be at about 26 points per game, which would be an automatic first-team selection-.

CasperCorps 13 years, 2 months ago

Thank you media! Please keep all the hype on Rush and maybe we'll be able to keep the real players from jumping ship.. Rush is O. K. against inferior talent but absent in the big games... He is definetly a team player though...

actorman 13 years, 2 months ago

Rock Chalk, no one's saying he doesn't deserve to be considered a good, or even very good, player. But there's a world of difference between being one of many players on a "very good" level and being one of FIVE who are first-team All-American. And it's not just about how many points he scores but WHEN he scores them. He just hasn't impressed me as a great clutch player. Believe me, I hope I'm proven wrong and he is truly deserving of All-American status at the end of the year. I just don't see how he deserves that ranking before the season.

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