When new Morton College men’s basketball coach Jon Rush talks, he describes things in pairs.
His Twitter page lists Rush as an “X’s and O’s” junkie. He calls himself a mix of city and suburbs, having grown up on Chicago’s East Side before moving to west suburban Downers Grove prior to starting his freshman year of high school. Rush’s ideal roster is a blend of city and suburban players, citing Morton College’s proximity to both.
His choice for assistant coaches – Keelan Donald brings city connections, serving on the staff at Morgan Park last year. Donald also played on Leo’s 2004 Class A state championship team with former Panther standout Kijuane Leach. Demetrice Stephens has suburban ties with being the assistant athletic director at West Aurora and a former assistant coach at Aurora Christian.
First and foremost, Rush will push the academic end.
“(Academics) is where it all starts,” said Rush, an assistant in the program last season at Morton College. “We don’t solely recruit students who have challenges academically. Our staff is here to put these young men in a position to be accepted into four-year programs. We are looking for student-athletes willing to commit to our school and program, while also taking a chance on themselves.”
Rush’s ideal perfect Panther team is one that plays hard, is solid defensively and can rebound.
“Team defense is something we will take pride in,” Rush said. “Our roster will allow us to have some versatility on both ends of the floor.”
Rush is eager to get started.
“I’m just excited to get started with everything,” Rush noted. “I feel I was able to build those very important one-on-one relationships with the players over the summer. They have been very receptive to what we are trying to implement.”
Rush, who studied business administration and sports management at Lewis University, is the Alternative Intervention Supervisor at Downers Grove North High School. Rush is a Downers North graduate, where he participated in basketball, football, track and field and fine arts.
He also is the owner of T.R.A.P. Basketball and was handpicked by Chris Paul and his executive board to be part of the 11-time NBA All-Star’s Rising Stars program. He’s also coached the Mercury Elite’s 17U AAU team.
Rush was also was an assistant at Downers North when the Trojans were conference and regional champions. He worked his way up the program, winning two conference titles at the freshman level and at the sophomore level.
Rush also worked as a student manager for Scott Trost at Lewis University from 2008 to 2011. Lewis, an NCAA Division II, scored an impressive win over NCAA D-1 DePaul in the 2010-11 season. The Flyers also took on D-1 programs like Bradley, UIC, Illinois and Notre Dame during Rush’s time at Lewis.