The No. 13 ranked player in the Rivals150, Brandon Rush officially announced his intentions to enter the NBA draft at a press conference Thursday afternoon at Mt. Zion High School. The Kansas City, Mo., native is testing the water and has not signed with an agent. If the 6-foot-6, 202-pound small forward withdraws from the draft by the June 21 deadline, he plans to choose between two colleges, one of which he will visit this weekend.
"I'm going to declare for the draft and see how the NBA works out," Rush told Rivals.com. "If it doesn't look good, I'll just take my name out."
Rush has precise criteria set in place to help him make his final decision, and he realizes that he has nothing to lose by going through the draft preparation process.
"I need to know I am a first round pick in order to stay in the draft," he said. "I need to hear from three different teams that they would definitely pick me in the first round.
"Going through this will be a great experience. I hope to get better as a player during this process, and I'll know what I'll be going through if there is a next time."
If Rush does take his name out of the draft, two colleges are in the running for his services next season.
"Illinois is on top," said Rush. "Oklahoma is right behind them. I will visit Illinois this weekend, and I really liked the visit I took to Oklahoma."
Rush has spent the past two weeks training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He expects to return there next week for one more week of training before he begins to workout for NBA teams.
"I want to be in tip-top shape before I start my workouts," he said. "I'll probably workout at IMG for a week or so and then come back to Mt. Zion and finish up school.
"My defense and shooting have really improved working out there. We do a lot of shooting drills, and I've been playing against some of the best underclassmen in the country. Matt Walsh has been the toughest player for me to go against. He is a pure shooter, and if you get to close to him, he can ball fake and get around you. He has really helped my defense."
At this point, Rush, who averaged 21 points, 4 blocks and 3 assists per game last season at Mt. Zion, does not project as a first round pick in a draft that has become more crowded. He will have to impress the NBA brass with his athleticism, knack for scoring and potential improvement in his mental game and skill game.
Brandon Rush scouting report
Rush is gradually developing the mentality and skill of an elite prospect. A tremendous north and south athlete who can run and jump with the best of the country, he is also a strong one-on-one player who can get to the basket and finish difficult shots. He can shoot the ball from deep, but needs to gain consistency. A good offensive rebounder when he puts in the effort, his passing and defense need work and he needs to get stronger.