Rush With Bright League Future

Brandon Rush went to four different high schools in Kansas City and North Carolina before returning to the heartland to play college basketball for Kansas. Now, after three years starring at KU, Rush is set to begin his next journey in the NBA.

And that place might be out in the Land of the Sun where Brandon Rush could become a reliable replacement to the aging and often injured Grant Hill with the Phoenix Suns.

“I’m going to say 15 (to Phoenix),” said one NBA scout about where Rush might be picked in Thursday’s NBA Draft at Madison Square Garden in New York. “He’d be a great fit with (Steve) Nash. Nash would give him a bunch of jump shots. ... You got Grant Hill there, who’s kind of at the end of his career. I think they’d like a guy who can shoot and defend.”

Rush’s stock has been soaring after a great stretch run to the season and stellar workouts with NBA teams this month.

“He’s ready to play an NBA game today,” the scout said. “You can put him on the floor and he’s going to shoot the ball, he’s going to take good shots, he’s not going to make a whole lot of mistakes. He can defend his position, and he defensive rebounds. He’s a safe pick, he’s going to help somebody from day one.

“He’s pretty solid in his workouts. He just does his thing, he doesn’t try to do anything beyond what he knows he can do. You just walk away when you watch him work out and (go) ‘that’s an NBA player right there.’”

Rush indeed is one of the most ready-made NBA players in the draft. And he’s recovered nicely from his ACL surgery, which he had last June.

“I don’t think it’s (athleticism) quite where it was, but I don’t think it’s (knee) an issue with him, to be honest with you,” the scout said. “He’s completely healed. He looked pretty confident on it the latter part of the year. I don’t think his knee is a real concern to anybody.”

The scout foresees a bright future for Rush.

“I think he can be a starter in our league,” he said. “I don’t think he has quite the same mentality as Bruce  Bowen (of San Antonio), but I think he can be a guy who makes shots and defends the other team’s best perimeter player. He’s probably going to be a 12 to 15 per night scorer, get you five to seven rebounds and shoot a good percentage. I think he’s going to have a long career and be a very successful pro.”

Rush was criticized at times in college for being too unselfish. But this scout said that’s a plus entering the NBA.

“I got no problem with him being unselfish like that because it’s not like he’s going to come in and be the main man for somebody,” he said. “Those guys that are selfish, you got to convince them that they’re not going to get 15 shots a game. It’s guys you want to shoot more that usually fit in a little easier.”

Rush can definitely shoot the ball, rebound, and defend. But can he handle the ball well enough at the NBA level?

“It’s not great, but it’s better than what I thought it was,” the scout said. “Obviously, he’s not a super confident ball handler, but you can put him in  a position where you don’t ask him to do a lot of ball handling. If you put a couple of other good ball-handling guards with him, he can just play off of them and catch and shoot, or do one bounce left, one bounce right and he’s going to be fine.”

The scout said Rush can play both the two guard and the three, but is probably more a small forward “because a lot of times in our league, you’ll put them in pick and roll. I don’t know if Brandon is that good a ball handler that you can do that with him. He might be in time, but not now.”

Rush will “absolutely” be a better NBA player than his older brother Kareem, the scout said. Kareem Rush is a five-year veteran who plays for the Indiana Pacers, with a career scoring average of 6.9 points per game.

Brandon will certainly score more than Kareem, and the scout said the younger Rush could even hold his own guarding guys like LeBron James.

“Nobody can guard those guys, but I think he’ll do about as good a job as you can expect from somebody,” he said. “I’d have no problems with putting him on one of those guys.”

The scout likens Rush to NBA veteran Eddie Jones, among others. Jones is a 16-year player currently with the Dallas Mavericks, who has career averages of 14.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.7 steals.

“That’s probably pretty accurate,” he said. “We’ve (also) talked about Bruce Bowen. Eddie Jones and Bowen have a little more feisty personality than Brandon. Brandon is more laid back. He’s kind of like a Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons small forward) type of personality, but I think he’s got an Eddie Jones and Bruce Bowen type game.”

Rush’s passive personality doesn’t bother this scout.

“Obviously, you’d like to see a guy with a little fire with him, but some of the great players in our league don’t have that,” he said. “Some of those guys kind of have a quiet competitiveness to them. Tayshaun is a great example of that. Tayshaun looks like he’s half asleep a lot of times out there, but he’ll try to rip your heart out. He’s just doesn’t do it in a demonstrative way. I have no problem with (Rush’s quiet demeanor).”

This scout has seen Rush play since his days at Mt. Zion Academy in North Carolina during his senior year of high school. He thought Rush was an NBA-type player back then. And despite Rush attending four different high schools, the scout doesn’t see that as a problem.

“Changing high schools can sometimes put your radar up on a guy, but a lot of times those highly acclaimed kids get pulled around and pushed around by different people,” he said. “At the time, they’re not mature enough to know that they’re being monopolized by some people so that’s not a huge concern.”

The scout also addressed Rush’s arrest last December for two outstanding warrants for failure to appear in court for traffic violations.

“The fact he didn’t pay his traffic violations, that shows a little lack of responsibility,” he said. “(But) there’s worse things a guy could have been doing.”

Overall, the scout has heard superb reports about Rush as a person.

“He’s a really nice kid, personable (and) kind of a fun-loving guy,” he said. “Everybody on the team (KU) sounds like he got along with him, really enjoyed him. (It) seems like he has a good sense of humor.”

After so many stops on Rush’s hoop journey, the former Kansas star will embark on his next step Thursday night.

And it will be a time of celebration for Rush and his family. Especially if he goes to the “right team.”

“If he gets with the right team right away, he could definitely start as a rookie,” the scout said. Top Stories