I spoke with Kareem Rush this afternoon. He was flying to Philly tonight. He said he's been in and out of town the last few weeks: looking for a place and working out with the team.
He sounded excited for the season. The key point I took from what he said was that he was excited because he believed Philly could be the place where he could show -- in addition to his long-range shot -- a more well-rounded game.
Again, here we go with the University of Colorado ...
But, Rush played for Missouri and they came to town once a season. The Tigers, with head coach Quin Snyder, were darn good in those years. Rush could score. Yes, he could also shoot the heck out of the ball, but he certainly wasn't one-dimensional. In our conversation today, Rush made it clear he wants to do his job with the Sixers -- make treys -- but also believes it can be a place where his game expands.
Here's the story: (And let's keep in mind, ladies and gentlemen, this has been proofed not by a myriad of editors, but only by me.)
At the University of Missouri, Kareem Rush will tell you, he wasn’t just a shooter, he was a scorer.
Rush, 27, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, signed a free-agent contract with the 76ers on July 29.
Rush came to Philly, ostensibly, to boost the Sixers’ outside shooting credentials, which, at an NBA-worst 31.7 percent last season, left much to be desired.
Rush’s younger brother Brandon is a rookie with the Pacers, the team for which Rush played last season. Rush finished the year shooting 39.4 percent from the three.
Prior to Indiana, Rush played a season in Lithuania, 1 ½ with the Bobcats, and a little over two seasons with the Lakers.
While Rush knows the flick of his left wrist is his “calling card,” he said he is anxious to showcase an expanded game – something he hasn’t done since college.
“I was a scorer in college,” Rush said. “Anybody who watched me knew that.”
The numbers, while not screaming versatility, echo Rush’s sentiment: As a sophomore at Missouri in 2000-01, Rush scored 549 points (21.1 average), with 207 of those coming from treys. One year later, Rush scored 712 points – in 10 more games – with 333 points from beyond the arc.
The Kansas City native was projected as a Top 10 pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, but fell to the Raptors with the 20th pick.
The Raptors immediately traded Rush’s rights to the Lakers.
“I just haven’t found the right spot yet,” Rush said. “Somewhere I can show my entire game. Coming out of the draft with the Lakers and Kobe Bryant, it was hard to break in there.”
Rush averaged 8.3 points in 21.2 minutes a game last season. When the summer began, Rush said, he wasn’t thinking about Philly.
But, gradually, Rush kept looking at the Sixers’ roster and realized it might be the place for him.
“I bring a lot more to the table, but I know my ‘3’ will be the main thing on the court,” said Rush, whose career average from the 3-point line is 36.0 percent. “Elton [Brand] will get double teamed and they need someone who can stretch the court.”
Rush spent the 2006-07 season in Lithuania, a season he began in Seattle.
“I tore my groin and was out for three months,” Rush explained. “Instead of waiting for a call up, I wanted to get overseas and was offered a great contract … I knew once I got myself healthy and into a camp it wouldn’t be a problem making an NBA roster.”
Still, Rush said his NBA career hasn’t gone exactly to plan.
“I’m still waiting for that opportunity,” Rush said. “It takes a lot to find that spot.”
Added Rush: “Philly can be that spot.”