May 5, 2006

KU bigs must step up

Bill Self won the biggest recruiting battle of the year when Brandon Rush announced that he would return for his sophomore year. When the 6-foot-6, 202-pound guard first stepped foot on campus, he made it clear that he didn't plan to stick around for more than one year. However, after a disappointing loss to Bradley in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Rush reconsidered. With everybody set to return next year, a number of improvements must be made if KU hopes to make a run at the National Championship.

Now that the deadline to declare for the NBA draft has passed, Kansas fans no longer have to worry about the fate of Rush. After leading KU in scoring, rebounding and three-point field goal percentage, Rush has decided to return for his sophomore year.

Rush actually announced that he would return to KU following the Jayhawks loss to the Bradley Braves in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Nevertheless, Self said that he would do some research for Rush to see where he might be projected in the upcoming draft.

During KU's award banquet last month, Rush stood by his word and reiterated his plans to return for another year, but until the deadline to declare actually passed, nobody knew what to expect. Well, the wait has officially ended.

With 160 days until Late Night In The Phog rolls around, Jayhawk fans are left to ponder what the future holds. Rush, Russell Robinson, Mario Chalmers, Sasha Kaun, Julian Wright, Darnell Jackson and C.J. Giles, KU's most productive players from last year, will return for another year.

Rodrick Stewart and Jeremy Case, two seldom used players, will have another year of experience under their belts. Additionally, five-star point-guard Sherron Collins and Brady Morningstar will also figure into the mix.

However, the biggest question to ponder about next year is what to expect from KU's big men. As it stands right now, Kaun, Jackson and Giles will be called upon to carry the load. The Hawks are still very much in the mix for Darrell Arthur, but should the five-star forward decide to go elsewhere, it will be up to the three juniors to get the job done.

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