Rumors were swirling about Brandon Rush on Friday but this time they weren’t centered on his status in the upcoming NBA draft.
Word circulated that Rush injured his knee in a pickup game and suffered a torn ACL. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen.
Regardless of the seriousness of the injury Rush determined that NOW is not the right time for the talented sophomore to go pro. That means Brandon will not take part in next week’s draft camp in Orlando.
"Brandon and I met earlier today (Friday) and he told me that he was withdrawing his name from the 2007 NBA Draft and will return to Kansas for his junior year," Self said.
Rush led the team in scoring in both of his seasons at KU and was a Naismith finalist and John Wooden All-America in 2006-2007. According to his head coach, the two time All-Big 12 selection handled the situation exactly like he should’ve.
"Brandon has handled the process exactly the way the system was designed and has followed through with everything he said he would do," Self added. "I know in his mind he wanted to do this from a personal standpoint to investigate, but he never lost sight of the fact that he was going to make a smart decision that was based on his well-being for a career and not just the immediate future.”
Kansas will definitely be without Julian Wright next season. Wright hired an agent and is projected to land somewhere in the lottery. Rush on the other hand, always left the door open to return if he felt he was not a sure-fire first round pick. Rush’s decision immediately bolsters Self’s lineup for next season.
"We have a great team returning and I love my teammates," he said. "The people at Kansas and the fans have treated me so well. It is hard to pass up the opportunity to experience another year of that."
Rush, who nearly entered the NBA Draft directly out of prep school, has once again decided the NBA can wait.
"Throughout the process I have been able to give this much thought," Rush said. "I appreciate the cooperation I have received in finding out about how the NBA teams feel about me right now. I thought all along that I would more than likely return to school, but it was something I needed to find out about."
The Jayhawks now return 13 of 14 players from this year’s Elite 8 squad. Kansas will likely go from a top 10 preseason team back to a top 5 pick.
Brandon’s immediate intention will focus on the knee injury he recently suffered but Rush reiterated that the injury had very little to do with his decision to return.
"People will think the reason I am returning is because I injured my knee playing in a pickup game," Rush said. "That is not true, but it did re-enforce to me that the time was not right to go to the NBA."
Self of course addressed Brandon’s return with optimism for next season.
"It has never been my goal that Brandon return," Self said. "It has always been my goal that Brandon make the best decision for his future. I am excited for our fans and this upcoming season. I believe that Brandon will prepare harder than ever to put himself into a position that he will be a very high NBA draft pick after his junior season.”
KU fans will have to wait and see what the future holds for Rush’s knee. If it is in fact a torn ACL Rush could be looking at a lengthy rehabilitation.
“My immediate concern is that Brandon has the knee evaluated and begins any rehabilitation that is required,” said Self.