Griffin Rushin wanted to make his decision before the season started.
The 6-foot-7 Brainerd senior forward committed to play his collegiate basketball at St. John’s University, in Collegeville, Minnesota, Tuesday, Dec. 30, via Twitter.
“I am excited to announce I have committed to St. John’s University to continue my basketball and academic career,” Rushin stated in the tweet. “Thank you to my parents, friends and coaches for helping me get to where I am today.”
Rushin comes off a junior season where he averaged 11.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting 46% from the field and 31% from 3-point range. He earned Dispatch All-Area Honorable Mention last year as well.
“It’s a weight off your shoulders,” Rushin said. “Finally commit somewhere and you don’t have to think about it anymore. I’m excited to play with the guys this year and I think we can do some really good things.”
One of the reasons Rushin picked SJU was because it felt like home.
“All the coaches who reached out were nice, they just called to catch up with me a lot,” Rushin said. “There were not many people on campus when I went to visit with my family. I like (SJU’s coaching staff) energy and they seem really passionate about what they are doing, and really want to win.”
What helped Rushin get noticed was playing AAU in the fall and summer. He mentioned his final three school choices were Concordia College in Moorhead, Bemidji State University and St. John’s University.
“I feel like this fall and summer has been important,” Rushin said. “Been in the weight room almost every day and I feel stronger and better in the last year and a half.”
Brainerd boys’ basketball head coach Charlie Schoeck coached Rushin as a freshman before becoming the varsity coach.
“I’ve had the opportunity to be around him a little longer,” Schoeck said. “I was his freshman coach and have been his coach all four years and it’s been cool to see his development from a 6-foot-3 lanky freshman, to get to where he is now and how he’s rounded out his game.”
Schoeck said Rushin is the type of student-athlete every program wants from his humility to his play.
“He’s just an all-around good kid,” he said. “Could not have been prouder of him. He’s been very committed to the weight room ever since I took over as the head coach. Just to see the gains he’s made there, I can only imagine when he gets to college and fills out he can be a threat inside and out. The sky’s the limit.”
Moving into his senior year for Brainerd, Rushin looks to be one of the main offensive threats as well as one of the team leaders in rebounding for the Warriors.
“The key for Griffin is his only mindset is helping the team win,” Schoeck said. “Whether that’s playing inside guarding the post he’s going to do that. Likewise, if it’s a game where he has a mismatch on a slower guy he’s going to take him outside.
“When he gets to college he’s not going to be a go-to guy right away, but with his ability to play a role and do what it takes to win. He’s going to see his opportunity in college and he’s going to run with it.”
Rushin and Schoeck talked a lot during the offseason and Rushin made it clear he wanted to make his decision to not have it on his mind during the season.
“That’s a very mature thing for him to realize,” Schoeck said. “And I'm glad he was able to come to a decision and I think he made a great one.”
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.