JaRon Rush Signs with UCLA

Men's hoops signs third prep standout for upcoming season.

April 8, 1998

LOS ANGELES -- JaRon Rush, a 6-7, 215-pound forward from The Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, MO and a first-team McDonald's and Parade Magazine prep All-American, has signed a National Letter-of-Intent to play basketball at UCLA, Bruin head coach Steve Lavin announced Wednesday. Rush, 18, will be a freshman this fall at UCLA.

Rush is one of the nation's top-rated players at his position. He is a finalist for the Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award and was named the nation's No. 1 wing forward by PrepStar Magazine.

"JaRon Rush is one of top high school players at his position in the country," Lavin said. "When you combine his signing with Ray Young and Matt Barnes, the two players who signed with us in November, it's easy to see why we are very excited about our incoming freshman class."

In 1997-98, he averaged 32.0 points, 13.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 4.0 steals a game. He led Pembroke, coached by Rick Allison, to the 1998 Missouri Class 2A State Championship. In the championship contest, Rush scored 26 points on 10-19 shooting from the field, including 6-11 from three-point range, with nine rebounds and six blocked shots.

Rush has excelled in recent prep All-Star games. In the Nike Hoops Summit Game, held March 29 during the Final Four weekend in San Antonio, Rush was a member of the USA Junior Select Basketball team that lost to a squad of International Juniors, 104-99. He played 28 1/2 minutes, was the team's second-leading scorer with 18 points, had a game-high tying five rebounds and added three steals and two blocked shots. On March 25 in Norfolk, VA in the McDonald's All-American game, Rush was a member of the West squad that lost to the East, 128-112. He had a team-high tying 19 points, including 11 in the second half, and added two rebounds in 20 minutes of playing time.

Entering his senior season of 1997-98, Rush's preseason honors included--USA Today Super 25, CNN/SI National Top 10, first-team Street & Smith All-American and Athlon's No. 2 high school forward.

Between the summer of his junior and senior seasons, Rush was named the top wing forward at the 1997 Nike All-American Camp for high school players.

As a junior in 1996-97, Rush averaged 27.5 points, 12.3 rebounds and 4.0 steals, while shooting 59.3 from the field. In 1997, Pembroke was unbeaten at 32-0 overall and again won the Missouri Class 2A State Championship. At the conclusion of his junior season, Rush earned his first Parade Magazine All-America honor and also earned first-team All-State, All-Conference, All-Metro and All-District.

As a sophomore in 1995-96, Rush led Pembroke to a 29-2 overall record and a third-place State finish. He averaged 27.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals a game, while earning first-team All-State, All-Conference and All-Metro honors.

As a freshman in 1994-95, Rush averaged 27.2 points, 11.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals and shot 69.6 from the field. Pembroke was 21-5 overall and placed fifth in the State. He again earned first-team All-State, All-Metro and All-Conference honors.

During his prep career, Rush scored 3,387 points, the second-highest in Missouri state basketball history and led Pembroke to an overall record of 112-9 (92.6). He also recorded more than 485 assists and 540 steals.

Rush for the last several years has played summer AAU basketball with Bruin freshman Earl Watson, who attended Washington HS in Kansas City, KS. Watson in 1997-98 as a true frosh was the only player on the Bruin team to start every game (33).

Rush is UCLA's third recruit for the upcoming season. In November, the Bruins inked 6-5 guard Ray Young, another McDonald's All-American, from St. Joseph Notre Dame in Alameda and 6-7 forward Matt Barnes, who was also a prep football standout, from Del Campo HS in Fair Oaks.