It's about time that Bill Self has come forward and said loudly what all of the Jayhawk Nation already knows: Brandon Rush is playing extremely passive basketball. The one time All-American candidate and NBA first round prospect certainly isn't playing like he wants to get to the next level.
Everyone knows Rush is coming off a torn ACL and came back as quickly as any player has (seven months), and should be commended for it. But it hasn't helped his game one bit. He has as much talent as anyone, but he doesn't seem to want it the way others do. After last night's blowout of Loyola in which Rush did what is becoming his usual disappearing act, Self laid into his star.
“I did tell Brandon to be more aggressive, but it’s pretty sad three years into it a coach has to tell a really good player to be aggressive playing the game of basketball,” Self said. “If that sounds like I’m pleased with him offensively or displeased, you guys can read into that however you want to because a coach should never have to tell his leading scorer the last two years to be aggressive. But we have to do that way too often.
“It’s frustrating to me,” Self added. “Here’s a guy ... we’re not going to be a really good team unless he plays to his talent level offensively. Certainly he can do a better job of that. He’ll be the first to tell you that. For whatever reason, he shies away from shooting the ball. I love Brandon, but how in the world? ... We talk about the same thing all the time. He needs to be more aggressive.”
Rush tried to explain: “Today wasn’t my day. I didn’t look for my shot at all. I didn’t rebound the ball, didn’t go to the glass. My mind was not into it. I don’t know why.”
“I know what he’s saying. The team needs me to score. Coach just said, ‘Brandon, you need to stay aggressive, need to look for your shot more.’ I’ll do that.”
Rush is being lost in the shuffle with all of KU's stars. You can't tell me right now that you'd rather have Rush than Mario Chalmers, Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson, and Sherron Collins if you were a college coach. As for being an NBA prospect, if you were a GM, why would you want a passive guy, coming off knee surgery, who doesn't have handles, and seems to be content standing at the three point line?
Until he wises up and starts being the guy we saw in the NCAA Tournament last year, he'll be a lucky to get drafted in the first round and will be back in Lawrence for a Senior season nobody thought he'd ever be around for.