Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina

Incoming UNC Freshman Shea Rush Comes Full Circle

Kansas City wing enrolls at UNC with the rest of the freshman class this weekend.

For most freshmen, the first days on a college campus are a mixture of excitement, nervousness, fear and wonder.

That won’t be the case for Shea Rush, one of four freshmen enrolling at North Carolina this weekend.

Among his first activities as an official member of the program will be something he’s been doing since elementary school – attending Roy Williams’s basketball camp.

Now, however, Rush isn’t an anxious young player hoping to one day play at his dream school. He’s an anxious young player – who will work as a camp counselor – playing at his dream school.

“I’ve been counting down the days since I decided to go to UNC on Feb. 14,” said Rush, a 6-6 wing from Kansas City (Mo.) The Barstow School who accepted a preferred walk-on offer from Williams. “It’s been a lot of anticipation and I’m glad it’s finally here. I’m really excited to get to know the guys on the team better. Working camps, for that to come full circle, is really cool.”

Simply getting to UNC isn’t Rush’s sole goal. He believes that as he continues to improve, he can make an impact on the court for the Tar Heels.

“The coaching staff has been super supportive of me,” he said. “Coaches can take away confidence really easily, but they can also build you up. I don’t think it’ll be right away, but I think I can make an impact. I’m excited to be able to help the guys.”

As with most incoming players, Rush has spent the months since high school basketball season ended preparing for college. He works out four or five times per week.

“I have three trainers,” explained Rush. “One is solely for lifting and strength training. I have an in-the-gym trainer and we get a lot of work in. We’re especially focusing on shooting and ball handling right now. Then I have a shooting session every night from 8 to 9 p.m., seven days a week.”

Rush said he was excited when Joel Berry, Isaiah Hicks, Justin Jackson and Kennedy Meeks decided to return to school – especially Jackson.

“I like the way he plays and I feel like I can learn a lot from him and his game,” Rush said of Jackson. “I think I can emulate what he does and be very productive.”

The Tar Heels are expected to be a top 10 team in 2016-17 and again compete for an ACC Championship. Still, Rush believes he and his new teammates can accomplish even more.

“As a whole, I think a lot of people are going to sleep on North Carolina a little bit because there are some solid recruiting classes coming at other places,” he said. “I think what’s important is the experience you get from a Final Four and having a National Championship game appearance under your belt.”

Rush will wear No. 11 next season and will room with fellow freshmen Tony Bradley, Brandon Robinson and Seventh Woods.


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