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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Commentary: Rush, Afflalo should cash in soon

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— One was almost certainly playing his last game before trading his class schedule for instant riches in the NBA. The other will play at least once more before he, too, becomes a millionaire.

That's the way things go in college basketball, where this year's star is almost always next year's pro. An NCAA championship ring looks nice, but nicer still is a big check.

As a consolation prize for losing this game, it's not a bad one. Now Brandon Rush can spend the next week or so hiring an agent and finding a financial guy to help take care of his potential windfall.

Arron Afflalo has other plans. He's making another trip to the Final Four.

Afflalo made certain of that almost by himself Saturday, containing Rush with a gritty defensive effort on one end of the court and providing the offensive spark on the other end during a run sandwiched around halftime that told the tale of this West Regional final.

It was the kind of performance that makes NBA scouts drool, even more so because it came in the kind of game that can tell them a lot about a player. And this is a player who will be looking for an agent of his own in the next few weeks.

The way these Bruins play defense, chances are good they'll be in a second straight national championship game come a week from Monday night.

Chances are also good it will be Afflalo who puts them there.

"There's a reason why he's first-team All-American," Kansas coach Bill Self said.

Afflalo could make a case for himself as a lottery pick just based on the stat sheet against Kansas. He scored 24 points, grabbed four rebounds and got three assists - including a nifty pass into the corner to Josh Shipp for a three-

pointer as time expired to give UCLA a 35-31 halftime lead.

But the stat sheet told only part of this story. It says Afflalo played 36 minutes, but there's not a mention that he played most of those minutes even harder while defending Rush.

They went to him in this big game with two tasks - provide some offense and make sure Rush didn't hurt the team too badly.

UCLA coach Ben Howland gave him the latter almost by default when he mentioned a day earlier that, despite the prevailing theory that Kansas had no "go-to guy," he thought it would be Rush taking the early shots and that the ball would be in his hand if the game was on the line.

Afflalo's teammates liked the idea. They liked it a lot.

Rush was subdued after the loss and didn't speculate on his future. But he nearly went pro without even going to college, and there wouldn't seem to be much point in going back for his junior season when the NBA awaits.

Agents will be lurking, and friends are sure to urge him to cash in. He's grown to like school, but why study Economics 101 when you can practice it with your own money?

"If he projects out to be a high pick then I think there's a great chance that he may want to test it," Self said. "If he doesn't, I think there's a great chance he'd be back."

The questions about Afflalo's future will come later, but not much later. He declared for the draft last year, only to back out before hiring an agent, and there's little incentive for him to return for a senior year.

Unlike Rush, though, he's got a chance to turn pro with a shiny new ring on his finger.

And that would make a fat new paycheck even sweeter.

Comments

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

Everyone said the same things about Roy when fans were BEGGING him not to leave for North Carolina. When he did, now Bill Self is the second coming. FAN is short for FANATIC...

Roysoldboy 13 years, 2 months ago

APD is full of bs and I don't mean an abbreviation for Bill Self.

Fellows I coached high school basketball back in the 60s and 70s and each time we came close to making the state tournament and didn't get there we had plenty of people talking the way APD does here. Not one of those times did the kids laugh and giggle all the way home after not making it. People did bad mouth them every time because they were just so ready to blame them for not getting their school all the way. When you make it they cry if you don't win it and there are so many reasons that can stop you.

Yesterday a bunch of 20 year old sophomores seemed to want to get too deep to shoot against people who would block them most of the time. I am sure that Self tried to get them to shoot 8 footers so they could dish to the bigs when they were covered. You can rest assured that all of them are good enough that they will learn from this.

APD if you can't see that your way of thinking is stinking thinking someone needs to get your nose opened up for you. You are talking like one of those people who think if a bunch of kids don't bring the ultimate glory they failed at 33 - 5 and that is as good a record as anyone in the tournament will have. I feel sorry for you but a lot sorrier for a great team and a pretty good country coach who has to listen to too many people like you.

David Black 13 years, 2 months ago

Don't get me wrong, I love to watch Brandon Rush play basketball..but pro ball. No way! He cannot dribble with his left hand. Also agree this is trash article.

cklarock 13 years, 2 months ago

Trash or no, if Brandon projects high, he ought to go, and we'll all say 'thanks for the memories.'

He's a hell of a player, and I think he's ready for the NBA. If the NBA's not quite ready for him, another year will help sharpen his game and terrify the Big 12.

He's been a very special player, and a refreshing one as well.

Joe Ross 13 years, 2 months ago

Jim Jones: "There is an advantage to having Bill Self, who isn't a developer of talent, as our coach."

FYI: We reserve the word "our" for Jayhawk fans exclusively.

akbspock 13 years, 2 months ago

This article shouldn't have been here I agree. Brandon Rush needs to do what is best for himself and his family. If it is the NBA he chooses, I wish him the best. I f he chooses to stay in school for another year, that would be fantastic, I hope he does. You can't blame him or any other kid wanting to make the big money in the NBA. Maybe the NCAA should start allowing the kids to make a little money while in school. Good luck Brandon!

frompekka2sasha 13 years, 2 months ago

Are you KU fans or NBA executives? If Rush is "projected" to be a Top 20 pick than it's crazy for people here to bash him and say he's not ready. The NBA is about "potential" and we all know he has a high ceiling. Another year of school would help but he has made it abundantly clear that he wants to play in the NBA. Quit dogging the guy that left everything on the court for KU this year.

If I were an NBA exec I would not draft him as a Top 20 but since they get paid to speculate... I have to give them the benefit of the doubt on knowing his potential. We all should support Brandon in his decision and quit being selfish about our vision of next year's team.

Lin Rahardja 13 years, 2 months ago

Cash in and dissapear in 3 years or so. Better know how to create own reliable shots before jump to the NBA, or your role will be very limited.

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

What a bunch of whiny babies you people are! Rush will be a first round pick...and if he decides to stay, where does that leave us? Preparing for another disappointing post-season. Wake up people. Kansas is the 3rd winningest program in basketball history and has ONE championship in the last 20 years...TWO in the last 56 years. Roy went to the Final 4 five times, the championship game twice and couldn't win. He goes to North Carolina and wins it all in 2 years. It's not fair but it's what being a Kansas fan is all about...great regular season success and a total letdown in the post-season. And for those of you who are offended and can't believe a fan would post such a thing...it's just called reality.

KUGreenMachine 13 years, 2 months ago

the only one doging rush is jim jones. he's not a ku fan. theres no need to defend rush. his game speaks for itself. good luck in whatever he chooses. this article is still trash.

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

How many Jayhawks would be calling this article trash if we won the game and the names were switched? NONE of you! Our last championship was from a team with double-digit regular season losses and seeded 6th! The one before that was in 1952. Anybody get it yet???

hawkitup 13 years, 2 months ago

Quote: "Afflalo made certain of that almost by himself Saturday, containing Rush with a gritty defensive effort on one end of the court.."

I don't know if I would say he really "contained" Rush. I mean, the guy did score 18 pts.

LIHawk 13 years, 2 months ago

APDLoser,

So we should just quit trying and not be disappointed if we fail? Syracuse also could have taken a defeatist attitude because they had never won a championship before, and they'd probably still be titleless if they had. Why don't you go back to the wildcat board or tigger board or whereever you came from? You're certainly not a Jayhawk fan.

About Rush, I want whatever is best for him, but I think he should make that decision and not some Kansas-hating sportswriter who is hoping Kansas's best players will leave early and weaken the team.

ku98 13 years, 2 months ago

Aflalo helped himself with a great second half, but early in the game, Brandon surprised him by blocking a couple of his 3-point shots. I think Aflalo is a more complete and more consistent player than Brandon at this point, and he will go in the first round, but not as a lottery pick. Brandon is a 2nd rounder right now. He can shoot the three, plays great defense, is very unselfish for his talent, but needs to improve his ball handling and a better mid-range and short-range game (he short-arms way too many shots inside 6ft). If Brandon has great workouts, he might be a first round pick, but I hope he does not sign with an agent so he has an opportunity to reconsider and come back next year, along with everyone else.

cpjayhawk 13 years, 2 months ago

I don't know Rush, and I personally hope he stays, but people keep saying that when the big bucks call, he'll go. That's usually true. But again, I don't know Rush or his family but think about it. He's already got a brother in the pros, whose not a superstar but he sure is rolling in the cash. Brandon probably doesn't need financial stability because I would assume that he sees some of Kareems wealth. Share the wealth brother! Think about Joakim Noah, he didn't cash in because he didn't need it. His mom was a supermodel and his dad was what...a tennis pro I think. This is all just thoughts of course but I would think that Brandon would be fine without the money for another year, but I can understand wanting to get out of the studies and classes, but at the same time, he will have a great chance to do something his brothers couldn't get done...win a NCAA Championship, and I think Self (who is a great coach despite what people think or say) and his staff will develop Brandon and he will be a far better pro than Kareem. Anyway, enough of all that...Rock Chalk forever and thanks for the great year guys...if the guys even read this stuff that us wannabe players post on here! And even if they don't read these posts (I hope they don't) ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!!

Muska 13 years, 2 months ago

APD Jayhawk, you are one pig ass son of a bitch. Probably a cop judging by your piggy attitude. If you are unwilling to continue supporting KU because they have "dissapointing" postseasons (elite eight 2 out of 4 years isn't "dissapointing" for anybody), then quit following KU, and get out of our message boards! I know that you and your buddies just don't know what it's like to have passion about a good sports team over there in manhattan/columbia. Good riddance to you. Even if we lost for a THIRD straight year in the first round, I STILL would have bled crimson and blue, and will ALWAYS continue to do so. Any haters can blow me! We'll see how much you bitch when we finally bring the 'chip back to Lawrence in these next couple years.

ROCK CHALK!

class of 09'

Muska 13 years, 2 months ago

I don't post here often, but I do read quite a bit...some of you are unbelievably terrible 'Hawks fans...

Muska 13 years, 2 months ago

And by the way, cpjayhawk...Kareem Rush is not in the NBA anymore. He got cut by the Charlotte Bobcats (due to his lack of D...certainly not Brandons' problem) and last I heard he was playing overseas. I hope Brandon stays too, and growing up in Kansas City, I honestly believe he is the best of the Rush brothers. Is he ready for the NBA? I say yes, but he could without a doubt benefit from another year or so at KU. Through personal experiences I think he's a nice dude with unlimited basketball potential. Anyone who honestly thinks that KU would be a better team without Brandon Rush is absolutely batsh*t crazy.

hawkitup 13 years, 2 months ago

Do you guys really believe that Rush will make the jump to the pros? I'm not saying he couldn't, but something deep down in me tells me he won't.

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

Someone needs to have a relative check on Muska and LIHawk...judging from their very angry posts, I believe they may be running a warm bath about now after last night's loss sunk in!
I didn't realize that being a "true fan" whether it be a Jayhawk fan or not, meant buying into pipe dreams. It's called reality folks. I'll say it again...how much talent can one team amass and still not win it all? the 1988 team had ONE true NBA player in Manning. WE lost over 20 games in the regular season and were seeded 6th. IT's just fact. We had a great REGULAR season, but the post-season is measured by the NCAA tournament. Just because you don't like the fact we lost, don't take it out on those of us whose heads aren't in the clouds! Get real.

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

By the way Muska...were you even out of diapers when KU won it's MOST RECENT national championship? LOL! Never said the players and coaches should give up, as LIHawk suggested I said. I'm merely trying to get you "fans" to accept the reality of being a Hawks fan.

LIHawk 13 years, 2 months ago

APDLoser Unmasked:

Angry? I'm not angry, but I call 'em as I see 'em, and you're clearly not a Jayhawk fan and never have been. Heck, speaking of diapers, you're probably still in diapers or is it "Depends"? And it doesn't sound like you're too smart either. When was the last time a team win 20 losses made it into the NCAA tournament? "We lost over 20 games..." sounds a lot like KState or Misery to me (so I guess I was right). KU had 21 wins and 9 losses in the 1988 regular season. If anybody needs a reality check, it's you. I ask one more time: Why don't you go back to the wildcat board or tigger board where you belong?

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

Hey LIHawk, I'm curious...do you think the journalists for this newspaper are not Jayhawk fans because they report the unbiased facts about the Jayhawk games when they lose? You are the epitome of a Jayhawk fan...be content with regular season success and "wait 'til next year" when they choke in the NCAA tournament. I didn't realize that to be a Jayhawk fan, you had to turn a blind eye to their mediocrity in the post-season as you obviously do..

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

Roy Williams is 13 minutes from taking North Carolina to it's 2nd Final Four in 4 years. I can only imagine how heart-wrenching it's going to be for most KU fans when he wins his 2nd National Championship in 4 years with that team! But let's keep singing the praises of Bill Self! LOL!!!

Jhawklarkin101 13 years, 2 months ago

APDJayhawk:

I didn't realize being a fan went hand in hand with being realistic. Call me crazy, but I always thought a fan was supposed to be optimistic (although I have never actually met a KSU fan who has been, once they lose, they start bashing their team and start hollering for a new coach). I'm not sure where my ridiculous misconception of a fan came from, but thanks for clearing it up. I'm liking the idea of accepting mediocrity in the postseason, good thinking. Let's just stop going to the games (like OU fans) and start booing our own team (like KSU fans). Let's start websites like firebillself.com (like Mizzou fans) and give Dick Vitale a reason to stop calling Allen Fieldhouse the best place to play in the country....

APDJayhawk, you are an idiot. You may be a legitimate Jayhawk fan, but your the kind of fan that cheers for KSU, OU, and Mizzou. Your the kind of fan that probably turned your TV off at halftime during both Texas games. Your the kind of fan no Jayhawk wants to associate with. It's good to see some true Jayhawkers come on here and rip you.

Take the past six NCAA tournaments. KU has two first round losses. Yeah that's a fact, a fact we all would like to forget. But also consider four elite eights, two final fours, and a national championship game. That's a pretty solid resume, whether your KU, Texas, UNC, Kentucky, Duke, or UCLA. Take your pessimism back to Manhattan or Columbia, or wherever your dumbass is from, but for the rest of us KU fans, we'll continue bleeding crimson and blue and chanting Rock Chalk Jayhawk. Year in and year out, win or lose, we're the kind of fans that'll fill the stands.

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

Wow Larkin...very insightful. But you prove my point...thus is the burden of being a Jayhawk fan.

LIHawk 13 years, 2 months ago

APDLoser-Troll,

How is Roy going to win his 2nd NC when UNC just lost to Georgetown 96-84? Ha! Wrong again, you dimwitted loser! You pretend to be a Jayhawk fan, but you post the same pathetic, negative, trolling, taunting comments on all the articles. I guess that's how MU/KSU losers get their jollies when they don't have a team worth following.

DCSven 13 years, 2 months ago

APD appears to be being outed everywhere on this site as "A Poser Dissing Jayhawks" who really is a Mizzou fan. That's okay, he's served to bring out the real fans and the love we have for Coach Self and the team and a real basketball program.

ColfromColorado 13 years, 2 months ago

APD,

NC just got trounced by 12 or 14 points. Roy didn't get to the final 4 this year. I guess that means he isn't going to win the NC 2 out of the last 4 years. I am a realist. You are wrong. And if you can't get that right, what else can anybody expect you to get right?

Self is an excellent recruiter & an excellent coach.

About Rush & Afflalo. Afflalo is a class ahead of Rush. He has had an extra year to be better than Rush. Another year at the college level wouldn't hurt Rush.

About Rush. You only get to play college basketball once in your life. You only get so many chances to win a NC. He wanted to come back and be with his team last year. There is a possibility he could come to the same conclusion for next year. They would have more chance to win the NC next year than they did this year.

Whatever his decision, I give him thanks for what he's done for KU and wish him well.

jayhawkcafefan57 13 years, 2 months ago

You got to be kidding me!! I didn't bother to read the whole article; I've watched Rush for two years and there is nothing he has done - consistently - that would make me think he's an NBA prospect, yet. I think he probably knows it but that doesn't mean he wouldn't move on if the circumstances were right. His return would certainly give KU another opportunity. Hopefully the 2008 dance won't have a game of "missed opportunities"!!

Martin Shupert 13 years, 2 months ago

While the ACC teams all take bus rides to their games until they reach the Final Four, our teams consistently end up traveling all over the country. No way a first seed should have to play UCLA in their back yard. Just no way. Texas A&M has to play a lower seed in their back yard and they asked Gillispie if he thought that was fair. He said something to the effect of, "You should see what they did to Kansas!" So... hey... there are more reasons why we do not dominate the playoffs... Roy figured out a way to lose today that would have set this place on fire if Bill had done it. Let's also remember that it's awfully hard for coaches to make layups and free throws or to defend those 3 point prayers hoisted up at the end of shot clocks.... We play UCLA 10 times and we would beat them 9. But why not simply let them play on their home court? Why pretend it was neutral?

Muska 13 years, 2 months ago

APD Jayhawk is a joke. Laughable. Kansas is one of the best basketball schools on the planet, period. Just because we beat up on your Tiggers and Pussycats doesn't mean you need to be a giant douchebag. Take it to tigerboard.

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

Misery does love company! Does Roy losing make it all better people? LOL! It's ok...I still love the Jayhawks. And I still understand that 2 National Championships in the past 56 years is mediocrity at best. But if that's ok with you "fans", then enjoy it.

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

I guess Roy still has some Kansas left in him after all! Classic Kansas meltdown in Carolina Blue! Go Heels!

KU_DScooze 13 years, 2 months ago

More of APD's BS. If you love Roy so much, move to North Carolina and live with them. Oh, and anyone who hasn't checked out other articles and APD's responses. He cuts and pastes! He writes one comment, posts it to every article, and fills it with his "Blah Blah Blah, Roy is great. Blah Blah Blah, Fire Bill. Blah Blah Blah, we suck."

Two things to tell you APD --

  1. ROY LEFT KANSAS!!!! Did KU fire him, push him out the door, etc.? NO! HE LEFT!!! Why do you think people don't like him? He looked us all in the face and said he wasn't going anywhere. When the KU basketball end of year banquet rolls around, he had to request permission to attend!!! Don't forget that and try to blame Bill Self for Roy Williams not being here. It was his own decision, and for him, maybe it was the right one, but not for KU. However, faced with that situation what did KU do? They hired a hell of a coach in Bill Self!! An excellent recruiter and a great coach. When UNC won that championship two years ago, who were they playing? Bill Self's players from the University of Illinois!!!! If Bill had stayed, he would have been coaching that team and BEATING Roy. But he chose to be here and we should be happy that he is happy to be a JAYHAWK cuz I am proud as hell to have him!

  2. I don't care how you feel about the Jayhawks. Whether you think they are mediocre, terrible, disgusting, etc. I don't care. Win or lose, they are my team!!!! That's just how it is. I live by the Jayhawks and I die by the Jayhawks but I'm always there, always cheering, always hoping, and above all ALWAYS BELIEVING!!! So don't call it realism when you bash the team. Call it like it is. You don't really like the Jayhawks you just have always been around them or something. Fans are supposed to cheer, hope, cry, shout, and believe in their team. If you don't believe in KU's talent or ability, maybe you should call ESPN cuz I hear they have a job open for any and all KU hating, ACC loving, Big 12 bashing, Florida bandwagoners like you. And that's all.

D Scooze ... OUT!

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

I'm still not sure what part of my posts you think are bashing the Jayhawks. I'm merely reporting well-established facts about this team and teams past. I do inject my own personal feelings into the post when I state that it hurts to be a Jayhawks fan in March. It has hurt for the past 19 years and will probably hurt for the next 19. Still love to watch them. But, realistically, the regular season is played in preparation for the BIG DANCE. That's reality. Don't care if you like it, love it, hate it...it is what it is. And Kansas consistently does not deliver when it counts the most! This isn't Texas or A&M where they are happy to get a win or two in the tournament. This is Kansas and it is expected. Do you think Self is paid the amount of money he's paid without that expectation attached to it?
As for Roy Williams. The man left for personal reasons. What a bunch of cry-babies to hold that against the man. He's only human. But you so-called fans expected him to put you and the university before him and his family. He deserved better then people like you. And if Self leaves, be sure to go back and read about how much you loved him!

cklarock 13 years, 2 months ago

Personally, I think the NCAA tourney is over-valued.

I agree that success in the tournament is the benchmark for success in the eyes of the masses, but I think the masses got this one wrong, and as usual, the finger points at the national media.

We had an amazing season, one of the most exciing in recent memory (although 2002 was sweet) and a loss in the Elite Eight doesn't diminish that a whit in my mind.

I think Bill Self is an excellent coach, clearly an elite recruiter and a fantastic developer of talent. I suppose the posters slagging his player development assume that Brandon Rush would have become a top-tier defensive player in two seasons on his own? Or that Russel would be as hard-nosed and mentally tough under any old coach?

I wouldn't switch Self for any other coach in the country. If for no other reason than he brings the kind of kids to KU that we can be proud of; they're good players, and good people, and easy to like. Kentucky, UCLA and Duke should have it so good.

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

Hey Roysoldboy! Nothing negative in my posts. I haven't disparaged the coach or the players. I have simply stated facts. Facts that pertain not just to this team but to SEVERAL past talented teams with more NBA talent on it than this one. Past teams that had spectacular regular seasons only to stumble when it counted most. Those spectacular regular seasons are meant to build a resume' for the Big Dance and the Jayhawks repeatedly trip up. It's not all on Bill...Roy had the same problem. It's not all on these kids...the past ones haven't been doing it either. You "fans" get so angry when the facts are pointed out. There is not spirited debate about what needs to be done. You just want to open your arms and have a love fest for a coach paid MILLIONS of dollars to get results. Part of those results is a national championship. Who hires a coach and says...just make sure you have a great regular season and don't sweat the tournament. If you can't see the forest for the trees, you are just not wanting to see it. That's called denial. Don't worry...it's a perfectly acceptable human response to grief.

MarcoPolo 13 years, 2 months ago

Since Assho*lePD Jayhawk is so enfatuated with facts and realism, let me shove a few his way:

If Florida does not win the national championship, only 2 teams will finish with better records than KU had this year! That's No. 3 out of 336 teams -- and you still bitch!

Of those 336 teams, almost 300 NEVER won a single championship!

KU's record of Championships, Final 4s, tourney appearances compares favorably with all the quality programs in the nation. Although Duke won 3 titles in recent years, they're going nowhere in the immediate future and Kentucky continues to have double-digit losses year after year and will probably continue that trend for a few years anyway. Kansas sure in hell won't. Soon, both KU and North Carolina will catch and pass Kentucky as the winningest programs of all time. Then, you'll still bitch that KU didn't win the championship...

A few readers said you're really a Missouri or K-State fan. I think you're a closet Iona fan and just harrass KU fans because you have no life (and no team)....

Jhawklarkin101 13 years, 2 months ago

Ok everyone, maybe I'm the only one that's figured it out, but APD is just trying to piss everyone off. He has like half the posts on this page. Quit responding to him. For all the true KU fans, lets lick our wounds and get ready for some hawk football. O yeah, and also let's pray Brandon stays for next year. I don't feel he is ready, and I think he knows that. Plus, I think he's enjoying college more than most people think.... I think he'll be back!

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

Wow Marco! I hope Florida doesn't win so people like you can congratulate yourselves on having more wins than the NATIONAL CHAMPION. That makes sense...back in '88, we should have traded the championship for having more wins and fewer losses!

And you want to compare ALL 334 division one teams? Get real. Only 30-35 of those Division 1 teams have a realistic shot at getting into the Big Dance every year. You can have 30 wins playing in the whatever conference, but if you don't win your tournament, you don't get in. So don't try to make that comparison.

And thanks for the Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke reference. Combined, those schools have SEVEN national Championships since Kansas won their last in 1988.

If you want to argue facts, get them straight.

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 2 months ago

Hey Larkin...why don't you hit the SUGGEST REMOVAL button next to my post and see if the administrators of this message board remove my comments.

I can imagine what your reasoning would be...

APD's being mean. He refuses to say nice, sweet things about losing to UCLA and he's hurting my feelings.

See where that gets you...

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