Brandon Rush gets to play for injured H.Barnes
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Ethan Sherwood Strauss, ESPN Staff Writer 0 Shares Email print comment OAKLAND, Calif. – The Golden State Warriors are now 18-0, after a gleeful 120-101 evisceration of the DeMarcus Cousins-less Kings.
This game had the usual staples. Stephen Curry made physics-taunting shots, scoring 17 on a mere six attempts in the first quarter. Emerging All-Star candidate Draymond Green did everything, everywhere, again. This time that ubiquity led to his becoming the first Warrior since Wilt Chamberlain to claim consecutive triple-doubles. Andre Iguodala was great yet again, and Festus Ezeli delivered productive energy, yet again.
The Kings started off feisty, till the fight was futile. For the Warriors, it was another blowout win, to extend a streak that’s stretching far as light.
Ho hum, same old Warriors, a team that now has outscored teams by 288 points through 18 games. For comparison, Houston, Golden State’s 2015 Western Conference finals foe, had outscored teams by 282 points after their entire 2014-2015 season.
So, how does a team that averages a blowout top itself? On Saturday night, joyous surprise came in the form of a quick strike Brandon Rush throwback game. He was called upon to replace Harrison Barnes (sprained ankle) in the starting lineup, to some surprise. He didn’t deliver much in the beginning but owned the third quarter like Klay Thompson in disguise. Rush scored 14 points in a 3-minute, 49-second stretch that was shocking, fun, and possibly cathartic.
Rush has a history here, having done nice work for a very different Golden State team, not entirely long ago. On the 2011-2012 Warriors, he was the rare good role player, a glue guy in a situation too shattered to matter. On Nov. 3, 2012, against the Grizzlies, a Zach Randolph shove sent Rush’s career into dormancy. He’d scored 2,639 points in his four-plus seasons before his ACL injury. In the two seasons that followed, he scored 109.
In the background, he has been a vocal part of the locker room, originator of the, “Get what you neeeeed!” catchphrase, meant to inspire work between practices. He’s a popular teammate, someone people here have been pulling for to finally reclaim what he lost. That was palpable in the frenzy of his 14-point explosion. Teammates were clearly looking for Rush, hoping to extend his moment.
Brandon Rush scored 16 points, including 14 in a brief stretch during the third quarter. Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports After a dunk over contact, Rush was found for three consecutive 3-pointers. Then, during a timeout, interim coach Luke Walton and assistant coach Jarron Collins decided to carry the fun further, calling up “Elevator Doors” for the suddenly hot Rush.
“Elevator Doors” is a play that looks like its namesake. An offensive player runs off the ball between two screening teammates, who converge together to block his defender – the closing doors. It’s a play normally called up for the best of shooters, as it creates a 3-pointer on the move. You’ll see Curry get this play call. You’ll see Thompson get this play call. Something crazy has to happen for almost anyone else to ditch the stairs and take the lift. Since three straight 3s qualifies, Rush got the call, got the ball and … splash. The crowd went nuts, only outdone by a Golden State bench that might have accidentally created dance moves never before invented.
Walton explained the moment, saying, “When Brandon got hot and they called a timeout and we were walking out there to discuss [Jarron Collins] and I looked at each other at the same time. We both had it in our mind. That’s one of our go-to plays when somebody gets hot. It’s normally ran for Klay or Steph, so it was nice to be able to call for it for Brandon. They executed it perfectly and he knocked down the shot.”
Of the call, Rush said, “It was a big surprise. Luke said let’s stick with the hot hand.” Of the moment, Rush admitted, “It was the best I’ve felt in awhile. A couple years.”
The streak continues, bigger and better than ever. The Warriors continue to demur when asked about it, continue to focus on the present. In the meantime, their recent play has proved powerful enough to reclaim a man from the past.
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@wissoxfan83 he was ready! I love this.
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Great to see him have a great game, he has been patiently waiting and he made the best of the situation. Hopefully this will mean more playing time for him.
Thanks for the thread!
BRush… Here is a guy who has endured plenty and still remains in the league. I hope he can stay healthy… if he can, he is very capable of showing the league what a talent he is.
That dunk was incredible, especially for a guy who liked to back down from contact, especially after all his injuries.
Perry should take a look at that. Actually… all our post players should. When a guy wants to challenge your throw down, just add more force, and if the guy doesn’t pull his hand back, then let him get his hand smashed between the ball and rim. It doesn’t take much of that before defenders scout it out and start backing off of those challenges.
@StephenCurry30: Forgot to say this last night but S/O to @BRush_25 stepping in and showing out last night! He stays ready and it shows#nextmanup
@drgnslayr …the only “problem” with Rush’s aggressive dunk is that the opponent’s hand you see getting bent back awkwardly by the rim…I think is Ben McLemore’s hand!!..(cant have ku-on-ku violence…)
Absolutely loved seeing B.Rush get some limelight and a strong performance. I thought he was gone. One of my all-time favorite Jayhawks in the Self Era. Check his offense in the Final 4 vs. UNC…(25pts, led all scorers). Then check his D on CDR of Memphis.
Self doesn’t win a NC without B.Rush.
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I’m trying to remember, he stuck around for another season after the knee injury, but he could have left before 07-08, right? He’s one of the real heroes of that run just for saying he wasn’t going pro yet.
@wissoxfan83 Oh, Rush was gone after the Elite8 loss to UCLA in 2007, but he hurt his ACL in a springtime NBA pre-draft workout or in a practice session prior. It made him come back for his 2007-08 Jr season. And it wasn’t until Jan/Feb of 2008 that he was playing uninhibited on that knee.
His misfortune turned out to be KU’s fortune…and very well his fortune, since he ended up going lottery or near-lottery level. Dropping 25 on UNC in the Final Four is exactly what pro-scouts needed to see. Then, crossing-over on CDR in the Champ game, and driving with his left hand all the way for a layup (two separate times), answered the lingering question about him going “left” and his explosiveness to the rim. He always had it, just picked his moments. I recall a drive right down the middle of an open lane at Stillwater for a 1-handed tomahawk dunk, every bit as spectacular as anything Ben McLemore did.
Brandon is maybe the best guy not starting in the NBA.
No only did Brandon play very well is the last game but everyone associated with the Warriors really like him. The fans appreciate his play and remember how well he played before he blew out his knee. The team really likes him and the Warrior announcers really pull for the guy. What was really great to see was how he was smiling when the fans gave him a big hand after he was substituted for following his 3 point shots in the third quarter. He normally looks rather dour but he lit up like a Christmas tree.
He started in place of the injured Harrison Barnes who may be out 1-2 weeks with a bad ankle sprain. He fills in well for Barnes since both are very good with corner threes. His biggest issue is getting his confidence back and that appears to have now happened.
Love to see Brandon getting a chance to show what he has. He never really got going with some injuries and roster logjams in the past. He fits really well with Golden State. I agree with Jaybate, he may be the best player not starting in the NBA.
Gosh… you have a great memory!
Just between us, Harrison Barnes couldn’t hold the jock strap of a Brandon Rush with two good knees. Rush is one of KU’s all time greats–the best between Danny Manning and Andrew Wiggins and it’s a crime his jersey is not up there with Chalmers’. No Rush, no ring. He was so great he could lead a team to a ring on one bad leg. Rush on two good legs would have made just as big of an impact on the NBA as Wigs. Rush was a giant talent!
drgnslayr last edited by drgnslayr
Imagine how different the game would be if everyone stayed healthy?
Imagine what Danny Manning’s NBA stats would have looked like if he wasn’t hobbled his entire NBA career with knee problems? He suffered an ACL in his rookie year, and continued to have knee problems throughout his NBA career.
He may have gone on to rewrite the role of big men like Wilt did in his day.
All this Rush talk gets me jacked up now I’m gonna have to watch the 08 final four tonight.
If you want to see Brandon Rush’s true athletic greatness, watch him before his knee injury in games when he was being asked not only to carry the team offensively, but then reassigned from his man at the 3 to guard someone like Kevin Durant, or some more mortal basketball player.
Like all great players, Rush seemed completely undaunted by requests by Self that ordinary players would never have considered within the realm of possibility. Against an all time great like Durant, Rush could not stop him, but he could slow him just enough to give KU a chance. Against merely very good players at the 2 and 4, Rush would lock them down almost instantly. NO defensive assignment was too daunting for Self to assign him, while also asking him to keep scoring, keeping being the saddle the team rode. It was the greatest tribute Self has ever paid a player. Self, the supremely demanding defensive coach that prided himself on every player on his defense being able to guard his position, never hesitated to send Brandon Rush into the jaws of defensive disaster to save the day. Deep down, Self knows Brandon was the best Self Baller ever. Wiggins had more XTReme Athleticism, but not the physicality of Rush. Wiggins could dominate an opposing team with scoring and defense, but he could not orchestrate a team–could not both carry it on his back and play so that everyone else could get in sink with him. Teammates watched Wigs, they did not play with him. And Brandon did all of this as a freshman. Wigs could have done it by his second or third season, but there was no second or third season. And in the final analysis, Rush hung an NC banner at the end of the field house and Wigs did not.
Here is what great esteem I hold Rush in. I am a huge fan of Mario Chalmers. But that 08 team could have lost Chalmers and Rush might have been able to take up the slack and move forward for a ring. Chalmers could not have replaced Rush’s loss–not against a great team for all the marbles. Rush had to take over some of Mario’s men on defense from time to time through ought Mario’s career. The reverse NEVER occurred. Together they were a nearly unbeatable combination that last season, once everyone else got the skill, ball protection and experience needed. But that team was the KC Kool Jazz Quintet and there was just one band leader cool enough to lead that jazz band: Brandon Rush. He was the hub of that team even as he rehabbed early in the season. Self put the team out on the floor and made it play exactly as it would, when Rush was sufficiently rehabbed. Self had no doubts about who was the crucial piece of THAT team. They two didn’t see eye to eye. Brandon at that age could not reciprocate the trust and respect for Self the coach that Self the coach felt for Brandon the Player. It was an unstable relationship for that reason. And Self is not a man that forgets easily, or backs down. Brandon’s jersey will hang in that field house one way only. Self will never back down to Brandon. EVER. It is a matter of the KU tradition, not just personal principle, or even just a struggle of two wills, which it most certainly is. Brandon will, like Wilt, finally have to come back and knuckle under to the KU tradition. He will have to go through enough life to one day come back an mean “Rock Chalk Jayhawk,” as surely as even the greatest player in the games history finally did. There is something bigger here than anyone man, something bigger than the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune faced by anyone man, no matter how great the evil, or how vast the pettiness, involved. When one comes to Kansas, one is joining Basketball Tibet and Basketball Vatican and Basketball Oxford rolled into one. It is a living myth–a living tradition–one that transcends ALL who play and coach here. It goes on. NONE is bigger than it. Not because no one can be. Clearly Wilt went on to greater greatness afterwards. In all likelihood Andrew Wiggins will, too. But the myth lives here, now, and always. And the living myth, which asks none subordinate to it, also insists none ordinate to it. It exists as a continuous river and like all rivers, no one can be greater than the river without killing the river. There are dead rivers. The Chicago River is one. It now flows backwards and not into the lake. Its soul is gone and without it the City of Chicago labors in a kind of mythological purgatory, awaiting the restoration of its natural river it knows must be righted but believes never will be. The Owens Valley in California has existed in mythological death since its desiccation by the southward diversion of it to Los Angeles. The Colorado River south of the Arizona-California line verges continuously on another–desiccated from diversions, so that it is barely a trickle entering the Sea of Cortez. The living myth of Sonoran Culture will one day right this wrong, but until then, Sonoran culture exists in a wounded existential realm.
KU Basketball is a small living myth in comparison to the great living myths intrinsic to the still living rivers, and to those neutered ones mentioned above. But it is no less real and magical in the culture that it regenerates and enables those placing themselves beside and within its waters to live beyond the secular and religious suffering of this world.
Greatness recognizes its own limits finally.
Wilt Chamberlain, the greatest, did.
Brandon Rush one day will.
In some ways his journey is even more complicated than the one Wilt strode.
He gained the ultimate ring that was possible, what even Wilt Chamberlain could not do. And so Brandon asks even more painfully, what is it you want from me that I did not already give?
Wilt apparently asked this question resentfully for many years, unable to forgive the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and prejudice during his time on Mt. Oread.
Wilt apparently could not for along time look past the simple, parochial outward appearances and behaviors of the town and university that he chose, so as to connect with the deepest well spring and river of the greatest game ever invented.
But in the end, once he had found all that he had ever quested after, in all the ways his brilliant mind and gifted body had enabled him to quest, after he had encountered, attempted and mostly conquered all in all the world’s great cities and in the world’s great paradises, there remained an unquenchable thirst in him–to drink one last time, and so forever after, from the one living myth he had ever encountered in his remarkable life–the one living myth he had turned his back on out of his experience of the wrong those imperfect mortals around it had done him, and out of bitterness that his own failures within the mythic river that been left to him. He was one of the greatest renaissance men of the 20th Century by any measure of such a term. He was so much beyond just a great basketball player. But finally even Wilt said to drink again among my fellow men and women from the waters of the one living myth I have encountered on this mortal coil matters more than all the wrongs done me, and the bitter failure I encountered. And it asks only that I return and drink again. And when he did, the great man wept, as I do typing this, and said humbly, “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk.”
This Brandon Rush will one day have to do. And he will have to do it before, or after, his jersey is hung at the end of the Monarch of the Midlands.
And until he does it, he will not have taken the final step that all great must take. To step back down and rejoin the living myth they emerged briefly from.
Rock Chalk, Jayhawk.
Chalmers and Rush have NCAA and NBA titles too…
Sasha Kaun could join them with rings at both levels…
For everyone hating on Traylor, you need guys like him to rotate in. No he should not be a starter, but in bursts he really is versatile and serviceable. Would we have won it in 08 without guys like Kaun?
No one is hating on Traylor IMHO, even when they ARE being caustic in their assessments of his limited productivity.
To site a player’s limitations is merely mastering the obvious.
Traylor can’t hold the jock strap of even KU’s middling centers in a player to player comparison of productivity in almost all aspects of the game and this is a fact.
But here is simultaneous truth, something you profess well, when one shears from your pos your hating accusations.
The truth of your post is that teams need different things from different players and not all of what is needed by a team falls into that measured quantitatively.
There are things needed by a team, like toughness, will to survive, energy, explosiveness, that don’t measure and record well in discreet variables.
Looking back to 2008, there were many that were sure that KU could not be competitive with Darnell Jackson starting at the 5; that he was too short of height and talent not to be dominated and exploited eventually, even when backed up by Kaun. They said the same of Kaun. In particular, I doubted Kaun’s ability to contribute because of his knees.
But in the end, a key ingredient of that 2008 ring team was the competitive greatness and will of Jackson and Kaun.
Right now, of all the players, and despite all of his troubles with focus and consistency, and moodiness, everyone on that team knows that Jamari Traylor has ALREADY been through hell and survived. Whatever his numbers read, he has never folded for Self, never said he was too injured to go, never made excuses for his lack of productivity, and his struggles to overcome his own limitations at the positions Self has put him in. He has just kept coming, however inadequately he has performed. That will, that determination to just keep coming, to just keep getting knocked down and getting back up, that will not to quit when everything seems against his possibility for success at this level, as so many point out so often, THAT WILL TO GO ON AGAINST ALL ODDS, that must be what Self wants from Jamari Traylor, what Self thinks is the most important missing ingredient among his other talents starters, and what he thinks could be the difference between being a very good team and a champion.
We all may doubt Self’s judgement on this, and we all may cite Traylor’s tiny productivity numbers, but in the end we all know that champions possess this quality in spades, or they do not become champions. Self is gambling a lot on Traylor this season, but it may be that Traylor is the one guy with sufficient quantities of this quality to make the difference for this team, if only he can get his productivity numbers up some.
@jaybate-1.0 Well said.
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@jaybate-1.0 Thanks for being in Jamari’s court. He had never received as much praise during a broadcast as what Fran gave him throughout the UCLA game. I know that there were some on this site that were vomiting during this and demanding his benching the next night as two telegraphed passes were stolen while he was outside on the weave. Forget about every other thing he does for this team. Wiggins scored 40 over West Virginia getting open off the weave, Jamari is not a wing and should never be judged as one. He is our Darnell.
By the way, I’m still cogitating over what has to be one of your greatest basketball phrases - “The living myth of Sonoran Culture will one day right this wrong, but until then, Sonoran culture exists in a wounded existential realm.”
Very short on time today, but scanned this … let’s not get carried away here.
Comparing Jamari Traylor to Darnell Jackson? Darnell Jackson played in the NBA. Traylor won’t sniff the NBA.
Darnell Jackson was Kansas’ leading rebounder on an NCAA championship team.
Jamari Traylor has been the worst rebounder on a team that was eliminated before the second weekend the last two seasons, and prematurely in 2013.
Darnell Jackson averaged 11.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Traylor not even close. And the per minute numbers bear that out. Jackson .460 points per minute and .274 rpm in '08; Traylor .252 and .215 for his career.
Further, there is literally no one (I would assume) that would even consider choosing Traylor over Jackson in one’s lineup, let alone even entertaining the discussion.
Let’s be reminded, as well, that Jackson could score with has back to the basket, and could score on the block. Further, Jackson was actually a big body down low. Jackson *weighed 250 pounds" – and likely a touch more. Traylor is barely 220, if that.
Using Jackson and Traylor in the same sentence as far as contribution is approaching heresy as far as I’m concerned.
And why is there some assumption that Traylor has more will to win than, say, Hunter Mickelson? Or Landen Lucas?
First and foremost, this is a game of skill. Traylor has limited skills. No one disputes that. Jackson was a top 70 player that was very skilled.
I know we want to try to explain the inexplicable. I know Traylor has a nice story. .
Traylor can fit very well as an 8-10 minute role player. Actually, that sort of P.T. might bring out a better value in his playing time. When he plays bigger minutes, he gets exposed. 3+ seasons have shown us that.
I think we all just keep a good perspective on Jamari.
He was never recruited as our savior. His game has improved over his time in Lawrence. I think we can question the amount of improvement over that time.
The negative views of his game, and frustration from it, shouldn’t be directed towards Jamari. He isn’t going to suddenly wake up and be a better player. I take it that he works hard on his game, and he must put the effort in during practice because of the PT he gets.
I’m not sure the frustration should even be leveled on our coaches. I doubt either Landen or Hunter produce a huge +points differential on their minutes. All 3 players have strengths and weaknesses.
I do think there was plenty to scream about last year, when Cliff was riding the bench and Jamari had his minutes. The statistical difference was substantial. Everything pointed to Cliff, but he sat.
2020 hindsight is not always reliable, but in the rearview mirror it increasingly looks like Alexander sat and trailer played, because Alexander was probably never going to be available down the stretch .
I agree that Traylor would have to show something he has not yet shown to reach the same level as Jackson. And yet Jackson had also shown little promise his previous years.
Traylor is not who we hoped for at the 5. And yet with him as part of the composite 5 the 5 averages a double double with low TOs against ranked teams early. We would have killed for an OAD, or a 5 star, that could have stepped in and done that. We were viewing Diallo as our savior even projected raw and mostly only able to board and block.
The real question is will Traylor grow nonlinearly into his great opportunity as Jackson did, when Kauns knees did not heel. Or will all the composite 5 grow together? If they each grow just 1 Ppg and 1 rpg, they would be at something like 14 and 14. Traylor taking over the 5 seems improbable. But ech improving 1 Ppg and 1 rpg, even without Diallo, seems feasible in one season.
What OAD or 5 star could likely average 14/14 with low TOs his first season. Not many. As we agreed in. Another thread, blocking maybe wanting, but maybe that will rise with a bit more Mick and some added Diallo.
Hope springs eternal in small increments.
HighEliteMajor last edited by HighEliteMajor
@jaybate-1.0 I don’t know, Jackson was a massive rebounder his sophomore and junior years I recall – on a per minute basis. I do remember that from looking a while back I believe (I’ll eat crow if I look later and I’m wrong). I appreciate the “hope” so to speak with Traylor. My “hope” is that coach Self is using Jamari as a placeholder for the first third of the season, perhaps. I’d be quite happy if Traylor = Jackson this season. But, alas, I regrettably have no hope of that …
I did not recall Jackson had rebounded well, or done anything will before the last season. I recalled Him as one of Roy’s recruits who had not panned out as hoped for Self. Thanks for calling that rpm stat to my attention.
Kip_McSmithers last edited by
He was a Self recruit. Signed in July 2013 after Roy had left and Bill was in charge.
@jaybate-1.0 Just took a peek – Jackson in sophomore season, .319 rpm and .331 in junior season. Pretty salty. For perspective, Nick Collison was .308 his senior season. Gold standard was Drew Gooden at .377 in 2001-02 and TRob at .373 in 2011-12. Embiid was .350.
That’s incredible. Thanks for hardening it into numbers. I had no recollection of how well he had showed earlier in his career.
What the hell was Self doing NOT starting him!!!
Let’s put Self in some double jeopardy with the way back machine!!!
Hey, was this shades of things to come, or what?
Kaun had no knees at all Kaun’s last two seasons, and Self was playing him ahead of D-Block.
Man, would we have been on his case, or what, had we had good stats back in those days?
Bill, HEM and I are calling you out on D-Block!!!
There is NO statute of limitations this stuff!!!
I guess it just gets bewildering, some people complain we are not getting the top ranked recruits, others say we should do 4 year guys…
To me, Self does a nice mix of both.
We did not really find a diamond in the rough with Traylor, Lucas, or Hunter, but each has their niche. I think who plays when, depends on matchups. Hunter can protect the rim a bit. Traylor can take bigs off dribble no problem. Lucas can bang in there with the trees…
Hopefully Bragg and Diallo mean we only need the trio in reserve. They are no Jackson/Kaun but the three of them together will be assets.
I am really excited about this year. We are really deep. We have experience, and some raw freakish athleticism in our freshman…
The bigger problem with our big men is, we do not have guys who really can do the angles and lob passes into the post. Svi and Bragg are my hope to get something going in there. They need to get Brady Morningstar in to practice or something, ha.
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Is there anywhere to watch the game online for those who have been blacked out?
@jaybate-1.0 I think ultimately Rush has much more of a connection to KU than Wiggybaby ever could, since he achieved the pinnacle at KU. That team will forever have a bond amongst them. And that team is forever linked to its coach.
B.Rush is also a Midwesterner from KC. Wiggins was Canadian. Wiggins said all the right things, basically proving from day 1 that he was the consummate pro. Wiggins didn’t achieve greatness at KU…he achieved it in the NBA.
Wiggy is an NBAer plain and simple. KU is truly an afterthought, and maybe a fond memory for him.
Brandon Rush is forever part of the highest echelon of KU Legacy, whether he comes to visit or not. And I thought I saw Rush at the Legends game in AFH 2yrs ago? He was guarding Paul Pierce if I remember correctly…
You nailed it.
@jaybate-1.0 Self played DJax over Kaun, because DJax functioned very well in the high post, if you recall. Remember he could turn around and if the hi-lo pass wasn’t there, he would just repeatedly hit that 12ft face-up jumper. AND he rebounded. That face-up J was why he started over Kaun.
I recall Self saying Kaun’s greatest attribute was he was “the best on-ball post defender” on that roster. Offensively, Kaun was mostly a garbage scorer. People mistakenly called Darnell a “garbage” man, but he was more than that. As @HighEliteMajor pointed out, Darnell was a consistent, reliable scorer.
@Second-Prize I think definitely Hunter, and maybe Lucas could be double-double guys IF they were starters at some midmajor. And I’m pretty intolerant of Lucas these days…
But Hunter was a top50 recruit, and I actually think he has a better rounded game than WIthey, its just that Withey had than insane ability to block shots. Hunter has never been allowed to get comfortable in the lineup. I feel for him, because he has more ability than either Jamari or Lucas, although I think only Jamari can throw his body around like he does. Hunter isn’t that type of athlete, but he is plenty quick when it comes to foot speed. Wish I could say something positive about Lucas.
Personally, I don’t consider Brandon Rush “damaged goods” from the knee surgery perspective. Maybe 30yrs ago somebody was never quite the same after blowing an ACL or an Achilles, but not so in the last 10-15yrs, medically speaking.
Examples? Brandon Rush in the 2008 Final 4. Dropping 25 on UNC and outflying 6’9 Hansborough to the rim. No limitation there. And defensively stuck like glue so hard to CDR of Memphis, that instead of seeing the FT rim, CDR on the FT line still had visions of B.Rush’s intensity (thus missing the FT).
Jamaal Charles: blew out his ACL 4 yrs ago, and was truly 100% for the next few years until he blew out the other ACL 2 mos ago. His stats strongly underscore his continued excellence. Jamaal Charles IS the all-time NFL rush leader in yds-per-carry. In the entire history of the NFL. That is simply insane. His true 4.4 speed was not affected by his first knee surgery either.
How about Brandon Rush again? Last week. Not just the 3s, but the strong baseline power jam, that almost broke Ben McLemore’s hand who was trying to block it. That amount of hops and explosiveness, both in the 08 Final 4, and then again last week, tells me Mr. Rush is 100%.
Darnell was lucky Kaun had two operable knees his last two seasons or Darnell would have seen only backup duty. Kaun is in the NBA at the end of his career long after Jackson barely made a ripple.
Remember how little Jackson plated when Kaun was healthy those first two seasons? Kaun could muscle and jump at a true 6-10 or 6-11. Solid as a rock top to bottom, but hard hands. Darnell was cut on top, but he had those funny little bird legs on the bottom.
But both had champions hearts though.
@jaybate-1.0 I hope Kaun can stick for a while in the NBA. He does have 3-4 inches on Darnell. Darnell was always widely considered 6’8, while Kaun was 6’11 or 7ft.
Kaun saved our ass against Davidson when all the MickeyDs were ineffective for a few key minutes. And that was offensively, he gave 2-3 key buckets, if I recall.
Darnell, I still vividly remember him smiling after the handshake line after we beat UNC, walking off court, holding up 1 finger for “1 more game”. He was so right. And he helped seal the deal with his fast break layup in OT vs Memphis.
@ralster I’ll add Adrian Peterson who not only tore his ACL but his MCL and PCL. He has come back just as good as he was before that injury.
20 years ago he would have never played again let alone walked without a limp.
Medical magic has come a loooong way
@jaybate-1.0 I do recall in Jackson’s first season or two, it seemed he had trouble catching the ball in the post, the dreaded hands-o-stone. And I recall his junior season thinking, ‘hey, he has improved’. Kaun had a little trouble with dropsy as well early on.
Agreed–> definitely both champions in heart and achievement!