Boys basketball: Rushin having good AAU season
Griffin Rushin is turning heads.
The Brainerd Warriors basketball senior was featured on the recruiting website Prep Hoops as an AAU “Top Stock Riser” for 17U.
Rushin plays for the AAU team Minnesota Matrix, a program based out of St. Cloud, and according to Prep Hoops has turned himself from a solid high school player to a legit college prospect this summer.
“I’ve been in the gym almost everyday,” Rushin said. “Just shooting around, playing with my friends, stuff like that.”
So far Rushin’s team has played in five AAU tournaments with one more go. The coronavirus has made AAU a little more challenging than previous years. They have to wear masks in the gym and cannot stay to watch other games being played.
“It’s been a little bit different,” Rushin said. “Some tournaments don’t even allow fans in. It’s been a little bit of a different environment.”
Brainerd’s boys head basketball coach Charlie Schoeck has only been able to watch Rushin play in one tournament because of the restrictions most tournaments have.
“I got to watch him and three other sophomores-to-be in St. Cloud,” Schoeck said. “It was fun to watch four of our guys playing.”
Rushin says the AAU environment has helped him play against different players he wouldn’t get to play in the normal high school season, which helps his improvement.
“Just been working on my shot, working on my strength and being quick,” Rushin said.
Schoeck thinks the AAU environment is good for his players to get out of their comfort zones and play against different competition.
“Maybe you play a different role and step out of the shadows,” Schoeck said.
Last season, Rushin started most of the season for the Warriors. He finished his junior year with 298 points (11.5 per game), 127 rebounds (4.9 per game), shot 46% from the field and 31% from 3-point.
He was named to the All-Area Dispatch honorable mention team as well as All-Central Lakes Conference honorable mention.
Schoeck says it’s encouraging to see Rushin performing well in the summer.
“It’s a good thing when your leaders of the team are the ones that are leading by example and putting the work in,” Schoeck said. “In my years here, I don’t think I’ve seen a kid work harder than Griffin at the game of basketball. His love for the game is unmatched.”
Rushin’s goal is to play college basketball after he graduates, and having a standout AAU season is helping him reach that goal.
Some of the schools that have shown interest in Rushin have been St. John’s University, Concordia College in Moorhead, Crown College, Bemidji State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead.
Rushin is excited for his senior season at Brainerd.
“I’m ready for this year’s team. I think we can be really good,” Rushin said.
Schoeck is excited to see how Rushin will grow as a leader.
“One of the coolest things outside of his game maturing and progressing this summer has been his personality is starting to show,” Schoeck said. “I think he is a lot more comfortable around the guys now and being one of the older guys. He works as hard or harder than anyone else in the gym.”
Schoeck thinks AAU is a good way for his players to improve. He said AAU has gotten a bad rep over the years, but most of the programs do things the right way.
“The more basketball they can play the better,” Schoeck said. “One of the conversations we talk about is to find a team that has good coaches and that is a fit for you. I have no concerns with guys playing with reputable teams like that.”
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.