No Rush for Brandon's decision

Prized junior small forward Brandon Rush, whose team lost Friday night at the Kingwood AAU Classic in Houston, has Arkansas in his top five.

HOUSTON – It wasn't the best of times for the Rush brothers in this city on Friday night.

Kareem Rush and his Los Angeles Laker teammates fell 102-91 to the Houston Rockets in game three of those teams' NBA opening round playoff series.

At the same time at Westfield High School, little brother and possible University of Arkansas recruit Brandon Rush was enduring his Atlanta Celtics Black's 68-57 loss to the New York Gauchos in opening round pool play of the 10th annual Kingwood AAU Classic.

"We'll get to see each other on Sunday and I'll get to see his game," the younger Rush said. "Hopefully we'll play better between now and then."

Russ, a 6-7, 200-pound junior small forward from Mount Zion Christian Academy, had 11 points and 8 rebounds on Friday, but the Gauchos backcourt of Lavance Fields, Jaquan Stone and Jessie Sapp dominated the contest defensively to lead their squad to the win.

Sapp is a 6-4 junior point guard that Arkansas is also recruiting. he lists the Razorbacks UConn, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Ohio State and Stanford as his favorites.

"This was not a great effort from us tonight and they played really well," Rush said. "But we'll get better and just put this one behind us."

Rush certainly showed his outstanding athletic ability during the game with a variety of dunks, jump shots and drives to the basket.

It is why he is considered one of the top five players in the Class of 2005 and why some of the nation's top programs are trying to land him.

He has narrowed his list down to five schools that he is going to consider signing with next November.

"My top five are Arkansas, Oklahoma, UConn. Louisville and Indiana," Rush said. "As far as Arkansas, I really like (Razorback head) Coach (Stan) Heath. He really seems like a guy I could really enjoy playing for and the fact that they are on their way back up is very appealing to me."

Rush certainly isn't accustomed to losing since Dwight Howard and Josh Smith (two players who have declared for the NBA draft) and J.R. Smith (who may declare) were on this Celtics AAU team last summer and Mount Zion went 28-1 this past season.

The winning was great, but Rush was just as proud of how much better a player and teammate he became.

"I think I got better defensively and just improved my game in almost every aspect," Rush said. "I think I became a better passer and learn to incorporate myself into being a better teammate that can make things happen for others as well as myself."

Rush is certainly a marvelous athletic talent that some have said may be the best Rush of them all – including other brother and former UCLA star Jaron Rush.

"I don't know about that," Rush said. "Both of my brothers are very, very good and one of the reasons I am pretty good is because I went against them all the time and had to really compete hard."

Some have said that Rush might be another in the line of prep stars who tries to make the leap straight to the NBA and skip college.

"I've got to get a lot better if I hope to play in the league one day," Rush said.

That's a sentiment shared by Dave Telep of Insiders.com, a recruiting analyst and fan of Rush's.

"He is a great player, but hopefully he will learn some things from guys like Josh Smith and J.R. Smith," Telep said. "Those are guys who are going to do what they do in the NBA, but it will happen without rounding out their games. I think they sold themselves short. Brandon is on that same level athletically, but he still has a lot to do to turn himself into a versatile guy and not just a great athlete."

Rush, whose team will be back on the court this morning to face the Miami Tropics at 11:30 a.m., says that's his plan.

"Every day I just want to work hard and make myself a better player," Rush said. "Every day you don't get better is just a wasted day."

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Kingwood Tidbits:

…Arkansas is also interested in a couple of Rush's teammates in 5-11 junior point guard Sharaud Curry and 6-5 sophomore Javaris Crittenton.

…The Razorbacks are apparently intrigued with Houston Select 6-0 point guard Henry Dugat, whose team rolled to a blowout win over on Friday night.

Dugat is hearing from Big 12 schools Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor as well as Arkansas.

…One of the better games on Friday night featured a matchup of a California squad against a Chicago one. Tbe Belmont Shore, featuring former Laker star Jamal Wilkes' 6-10 son Jordan, squad whipped the Chicago-based Illinois Warriors 67-61.

...Arkansas' coaches are due in Saturday and Sunday when NCAA coaches are allowed to watch the games.


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