Jorgensen: Need a Rush
He may be on the fence at this point, but Brandon Rush should return for his junior year. It's really an easy decision: risk going late in the NBA draft or vie for MVP and a possible national championship? No contest.
If Brandon Rush returns next basketball season, his jersey will be hanging in the Allen Fieldhouse rafters in another five.
As a Jayhawk next season, Brandon Rush will be a preseason All-American and ultimately a consensus first team All-American, which would earn him the right to have his jersey retired.
If Brandon Rush leaves now, he’ll wind up a lost soul in the NBA. He’ll see few minutes, and when he does it will be roaming the perimeter as a spot-up three-point shooter, but nothing much more than that.
Brandon Rush has been moderately close to earning the All-American title but hasn’t yet achieved it. As a junior he would finally get over the hump, earn first team honors and stand at center court and watch as the Athletics Department unveils his retired jersey, after the mandatory five-year waiting period.
However, this is all contingent on Brandon Rush returning for his junior year. If Brandon Rush decides to leave for the NBA, he will probably fall somewhere in the second round, especially considering the amount of talented players declaring everyday. Brandon Rush can truly benefit from another year of college ball.
Julian Wright is never going to be a go-to shooter like Brandon Rush. They both have the potential to be great players in the league, but they will be different types of players — Wright a Marvin Williams-like player and Brandon Rush a Shawn Marion-like player. Wright can work on his shot while being a bench player in the NBA.
Unlike Wright, what Brandon Rush needs to work on he can’t do while riding the bench in the NBA. Brandon Rush needs to work on his assertiveness and his willingness to take a game over in the clutch. Those are intangibles you can’t learn watching games from the sideline.
By staying at Kansas, he’ll be put in the role as the go-to guy again, but he’ll have one less person to compete with for possessions. I really believe next season he will come around and as the super talent everyone says he can be. He’s been really good, if not great as a Jayhawk. But he can be elite next season.
Brandon Rush can bring it all together, make a run at a national championship and have a shot at national player of the year. He likely would have made a run at a player of the year award next season regardless of early departures by players to the NBA this off-season.
Next season his only competition will be North Carolina forward Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson, UCLA point guard Darren Collison, possibly Marquette guard Dominic James and then whatever sleepers who might have surprising seasons (I’m assuming current freshmen Greg Oden and Brandon Wright will declare for the draft).
Brandon Rush can compete with all of them, if not beat them all in an MVP race. If he leaves now, maybe he can manage to improve into a starting NBA player. If he stays, he will gain so much more. His confidence, hunger and competitiveness will all improve. He will finally get that All-American bid and eventually have his jersey retired. Then he will be a high lottery pick next year and immediately help an NBA team improve.
That’s if he stays.
Jorgensen is a Baldwin City senior in journalism.
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