Carolina Keeping Tabs On Rusher

Over the last five or six years, the city of Houston has established itself as one of the top locations in the country when it comes to producing elite level talent. The class of 2007 is shaping up as another loaded class in the area and one of the top prospects is Isaiah Rusher from Bellaire (Texas) High.

Standing 6-9 and blessed with a muscular 230-pound frame, Rusher certainly looks the part of a big time basketball recruit. He runs the floor effortlessly, elevates quickly around the hoop for blocks, dunks and rebounds and loves to play physical. It isn't surprising that many of the country's elite programs have showed early interest.

"Right now I kind of like Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, Kansas and schools like that," said Rusher. "There's a lot of schools I like, but it is early."

Primarily a force on the boards and the defensive end at this point, Rusher shows a great deal of maturity in his approach. Rather than forcing things on the offensive end and taking shots out of his range, he's happy to do the little things like set picks, pick up garbage baskets, hit the occasional short jump hook and keep the ball alive.

That isn't to say he isn't working on his game on the offensive end -- he does that on a daily basis against collegiate and professional players at John Lucas' Houston workout facility -- he just understands that it takes time and practice to get where he wants to go.

"I'm a contact person and playing with them (pros and college players) is going to get you ready for the contact," Rusher said. "It teaches you what to do and when to do it. They know all of the little tricks on offense and defense and if you master that with them you'll be able to come out and take care of these little people out here."

Along the way Rusher has developed a close friendship with several players, most notably another early Carolina target, 5-9 rising junior point guard Jai Lucas, who is his teammate at Bellaire and with the Houston Hoops. He isn't opposed to playing with some familiar faces in college and it looks like he'd really like to play with his partner Lucas.

"I'm going to play with Jai, whatever college he goes to is where I'm going to go," Rusher said. "Whatever he does, I'm going to do with him."

While the Tar Heels haven't yet offered a scholarship, they have shown Rusher plenty of early interest. After watching their run through the national tournament, Rusher is giving that interest right back.

"I like their big men, plus the reputation from winning the national championship," said Rusher. "If I go there, I bet that we could win again. I like the way they play and run, plus they play as a team.

"They said they like my game and that they like my intensity. They like the way that I get up and down the court and that they never saw a big man run like me up and down the court. They like things like that and tell me to just keep rebounding and playing like I do."

Isaiah Rusher Profile


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