Rush, Wright Share Conference Preseason POY Honors

Oct. 11, 2006

LAWRENCE, Kan. –

Kansas men’s basketball sophomores Brandon Rush and Julian Wright were named co-Preseason All-Big 12 Players of the Year by the league coaches. This co-selection marks the first time in Big 12 history that two athletes have shared the prestigious honor. Rush, Wright and the rest of the team officially kick-off the season Friday at Late Night in the Phog, which begins at 6:45 p.m.

For both players, the recognition is another highlight on their already lengthy resumes. Last season Rush, a 6-6 guard from Kansas City, Mo., became the first freshman in Big 12 history to be named to the All-Big 12 First Team. He averaged 13.1 points and 5.9 rebounds rebounds per game and increased those numbers to 15.1 and 6.6 in league play. Rush scored 20 points six times during the season and was in double digits in 24 contests. In addition, Rush was named the Big 12 Freshman of the year, joining former Jayhawk great Jeff Boschee as recipients of the award.

Wright, a 6-8 forward from Chicago Heights, Ill., blossomed as the season progressed, averaging 8.5 points per game on 56.4 percent shooting from the floor. Wright was named to the Phillips 66 Big 12 Postseason all-tournament team, helping the Jayhawks win the title and punctuating the championship game against Texas with an electrifying 360-degree dunk. Wright was also named the Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year before the start of the 2005-06 campaign.

Were Rush or Wright to earn Big 12 Player of the Year at season’s end, they would join two legendary Jayhawks who earned both the preseason and postseason recognition: Raef LaFrentz (1997-98) and Wayne Simien (2004-05). Former Iowa State guard Jamaal Tinsley (2000-01) is the only other player in Big 12 history to earn both preseason and postseason Player of the Year awards.

Texas Tech junior guard Charles Burgess was named Preseason Newcomer of the Year, while Texas freshman forward Kevin Durant was tabbed Preseason Freshman of the Year. The Big 12 also announced the Preseason All-Big 12 team. Joining Wright and Rush were Colorado guard Richard Roby, Texas A&M forward Joseph Jones and guard Acie Law and Texas Tech guard Jarrius Jackson.

Kansas freshman guard Mario Chalmers was named Preseason All-Big 12 Honorable Mention. Joining Chalmers was Kansas State forward Cartier Martin, Oklahoma State forward Mario Boggan and guard JamesOn Curry and Durant.

After Late Night, the season tips off when the Jayhawks host Washburn in an exhibition contest on Nov. 2. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. from Allen Fieldhouse.

Preseason Players of the Year

Brandon Rush, Kansas, G, So., 6-6, 212, Kansas City, Mo./Mt. Zion Academy (N.C.)

Julian Wright, Kansas, F, So., 6-8, 218, Chicago Heights, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor

Preseason Newcomer of the Year

Charles Burgess, Texas Tech, G, Jr., 6-1, 190, New York, N.Y./Howard College (Texas)

Preseason Freshman of the Year

Kevin Durant, Texas, F, Fr., 6-9, 225, Suitland, Md./Montrose Christian

2006-07 Preseason All-Big 12 Team

Name, School Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown/Previous School(s)

Richard Roby, Colorado G 6-6 205 Jr. San Bernardino, Calif./Lawrence Academy (Mass.)

Brandon Rush, Kansas G 6-6 212 So. Kansas City, Mo./Mt. Zion Academy (N.C.)

Julian Wright, Kansas F 6-8 218 So. Chicago Heights, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor

Acie Law, Texas A&M G 6-3 195 Sr. Dallas, Texas/Kimball

Joseph Jones, Texas A&M F 6-9 250 Jr. Normangee, Texas/Normangee

Jarrius Jackson, Texas Tech G 6-1 185 Sr. Monroe, La./Ouachita

Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school):

Mario Chalmers, Kansas; Cartier Martin, Kansas State; Mario Boggan, Oklahoma State; JamesOn Curry, Oklahoma State; Kevin Durant, Texas

– KU –