UCLA forward admits to mistake
LOS ANGELES - UCLA forward JaRon Rush said yesterday that greed prompted him to accept money from an agent in violation of NCAA rules, which he admitted was a mistake.
''I'm just a stupid kid just doing stupid things,'' the 20-year-old Rush said in his first public comments since being suspended Dec. 10. ''I made a mistake.''
Rush declined to say how much money he received from agent Jerome Stanley of Los Angeles, who has denied having anything more than a friendship with the sophomore.
''I'm not from a real rich family, so when times get hard, I try to take advantage of it,'' Rush said.
Rush's grandmother, Jeanette Jacobs of Kansas City, has confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Rush admitted to her that he took four payments of $50 each from Stanley.
UCLA officials also are looking into Rush's relationship with his former AAU coach Myron Piggie. Rush returned in November to Kansas City to testify in a trial Piggie is involved in.
Rush practiced Tuesday with the Bruins for the second time since classes resumed Monday. He has been allowed to rejoin the team while UCLA officials continue investigating his case. However, he hasn't been cleared to play in games.
Rush said he believes his chances of playing again are good, even if it doesn't happen this season.
''I'm just hoping to get back,'' he said. ''I'm not looking at a specific game or a specific number of games, just as long as I'm back by this year's end. Hopefully, that will happen.''
Coach Steve Lavin said he is glad to have Rush in practice to challenge UCLA's starters.
''Obviously, we can't control the outcome right now of when it will be determined that he can play again, so what we have to do is just work with him in practice and hope he's ready when the opportunity presents itself,'' Lavin said.
Rush said UCLA athletic director Pete Dalis told him his scholarship would still be honored if the NCAA ruled him ineligible for any further collegiate competition.
Rush also said he would return to UCLA next season if he was suspended for the rest of this season, because he isn't ready to turn pro.
''I'm just a kid going just through harsh times right now,'' he said. ''It's just how you come over that and how you grow from it. That's what I'm trying to go through right now.''
Rush's younger brother, Kareem, will be eligible to return to playing for Missouri on Jan. 29. He was suspended for receiving money from an AAU coach in Kansas City prior to enrolling at Missouri.
''I have the agent deal in there, so it may be a little harsher penalty,'' Rush said. ''He's dealing with it all right. He's coming back January 29, and hopefully I'll be back a little bit after that.''