Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
4/02/2008 02:46:00 AM
The Book on Kansas' Brandon Rush
SI.com spoke with an assistant coach from a former Kansas opponent to get an anonymous scouting report on Brandon Rush, as well as a breakdown of a set the Jayhawks run for their junior swingman. Here's what the coach had to say:
"Rush is a very skilled offensive player and excellent three-point shooter who can score in bunches. One out of his every two attempts is from beyond the arc. He loves shooting threes from the corner -- that's his highest-percentage spot -- and runs hard in transition to get long-distance looks or go for lobs from Kansas' other guards. They've done a tremendous job of putting him in positions in the offense where he gets good shots; if you looked back to his first year, his shot selection was a little bit questionable. Now, you always hear coach [Bill] Self saying that he wants Rush to shoot even more."
"Rush's go-to move is a shot-fake, then a drive right for a pull-up jumper, or sometimes a drive all the way to the rim. He uses ball-screens very efficiently, will post-up smaller guards in the half-court, and is really good at crashing the offensive glass from the perimeter. Because of his size on the perimeter, he can step out and make shots over almost any guard. And if you put a bigger, slower guy on him, he'll dribble by him."
"Once he gets it going, even with just some free-throws or a layup early, he's the type of player than can get on a roll and take over a game. Conversely, if he misses 3-4 shots, he's one of those type of guys who might start deferring. To limit his effectiveness -- and his aggressiveness -- you have to cut down the number of times he touches the ball.
"We gave our guys five keys for shutting him down: 1) Limit his touches; 2) Be extra physical with him; 3) Stay connected to him when he runs the the baseline; 4) You must hold your box-outs of him; 5) Run with him in transition at all times."
The following is an actual set the Jayhawks run for Rush in their man-to-man offense, as diagrammed by our anonymous assistant.
"This is a late-game play that KU likes to run for Rush; it's a variant from their normal continuity offense, which uses a lot of handoffs and ball-screens. What happens here is, [Mario] Chalmers dribbles right to hand the ball off to [Russell] Robinson, and the five [Sasha Kaun or Darnell Jackson] sets a flare screen for Rush to go into the left corner. Robinson hits Rush with a pass there, and he can either turn the corner and drive, or shoot the three.