Jason Rich knew he had to plan ahead. The 6-3 WG from Orlando (FL) Dr. Phillips heard plenty of stories about what the thin Rocky Mountain Air could do a player's game, so he was ready. Rich swore off all soda for the last few weeks and got in as much conditioning as he could.
More importantly Rich was focusing the type of opportunity USA Basketball is for players.
"I think that it is a great opportunity to showcase your talent, but still get that team experience," Rich told Phog.net. "You've got a lot of great players and you have to use it to your advantage. You might not get the playing time you want because there are so many great players, but you have to try to better yourself."
While settling in with his teammates on a loaded and athletic South squad, Rich's day was a mixed bag. Not getting as many touches as he is accustomed to, the usually high scoring Rich settled for six points in the morning session before scoring another six spot in the evening session.
Although the numbers are far from gaudy, the changes in Rich's game are noticeable. Primarily known as an athlete and an attacker, Rich showed patience and even ran the point during stretches. The ability to play either guard slot is something that is going to benefit him when he is able to make his choice.
Speaking of choices, Rich is trying to cut down a list of 10 schools. He'd like to have it down to seven by Monday, but a few schools are certain to make the cut.
He was also clear about what attracts him to the Jayhawks.
"Kansas is a good program with a lot of tradition. Coach Self has a lot of great relationships with his players and he's kind of a father figure. Also, they produce great players and get lots of guys into the league."
Rich also commented that he had originally planned on having a decision by middle to late July, but he is moving that decision back and may wait until a few months after the summer's end.
He is pretty sure what the deciding factor will be as well.
"A lot of people think that location is what matters, but it's irrelevant right now. At the end of the day I want to pick the program that will prepare me most for the next level, whatever that may be, and care about me as an individual."