Michael Bush "happy" for HS teammate O'Bannon

While they may play different sports now, <B>Michael Bush</b> and <B>Larry O'Bannon</B> were basketball teammates at Male High School.

The Cardinal football program begins it's preparations for the 2005 season – it's first as a member of the Big East Conference – on Thursday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. On Wednesday afternoon, head coach Bobby Petrino, as well as running backs Kolby Smith and Michael Bush met with the media to discuss their goals for the spring.

However, with the basketball team preparing for Final Four play against Illinois on Saturday, junior Michael Bush, a former Male High School teammate of Larry O'Bannon, talked about seeing his former hardwood mate reaching the top stage of college basketball.

"I'm really happy for him," said Bush, who will assume the lead rushing duties left behind by NFL bound Eric Shelton. "I'm on my hands and knees when I watch them play. I talk to him every now and then to see how he's doing and right now he is having a lot of fun."

O'Bannon, who was a skilled three-point shooter from the day he arrived on the U of L campus, has developed into a more physical player as a senior, something that doesn't surprise his former Bulldog teammate.

"It was tough for him for the first couple years, but now he has really had a chance to show his game and play how he knows to play," continued Bush. "He had [the aggressive style of play] in him in high school. This year he goes to the rack hard and gets a foul or makes his layup."

The senior guard was named the Albuquerque Region's Most Outstanding Player after averaging 17.8 points, 5 rebounds and 3.3 assists through four NCAA Tournament games.

As witnessed by a national audience against West Virginia, O'Bannon displayed what could be best described as unstoppable. After going scoreless in the first half and his team trailing by thirteen to open the second half of play, O'Bannon went on a tear, scoring 24 points throughout the remainder of regulation and overtime, including his difficult layup to force the extra five minutes of action.

"If he [attacks the rim] prepare to watch him put on a show, because once he gets his rhythm down you can't stop him," said Bush, who as a senior at Male won his team's MVP award in the annual Kentucky Derby Basketball Classic.

So, does the former first team all-state performer in basketball wish that he was on the floor with his former high school teammate?

"Yes and no...sometimes," said Bush.

Before he anxiously sits down to watch the Cardinals take on Illinois on Saturday evening, Bush, who missed last spring due to a broken foot, is looking forward to participating in his first spring practice since arriving at U of L.

"Since this will be my first one it will good for me," said Bush, who has his weight down to 246-pounds. "It'll be good because I'll be able to get to know the offense like it is clockwork."

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