Rushing’s performance highlights week

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 26, 2001

Sports Columnist

What a week for Troy State’s Robert Rushing.

First, he scores 30 points, grabs 10 rebounds and has six assists in TSU’s big victory over 30th ranked Georgia State on Saturday night and hits a 15 foot jumper at the buzzer to put the Trojans in overtime in their big double overtime victory at Stetson University on Monday night.

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I’ve watched and officiated basketball closely for 25 years and never do I remember a player so dominant as Rushing was Saturday.

He did everything you can think of in the second half to help his team win.

Believe it or not Rushing was cold as ice – as were the Trojans – at the start of the game missing his first six shots, but being the streaky shooter he is, shot the lights out in the second half to lead his team to victory over the TAAC’s top team.

I’m sure veteran Georgia State coach "Lefty" Dreisell was livid over his teams inability to stop the 6-1 junior guard from Fort Gaines, GA.

Rushing was all over the floor making shots from all angles and outjumping the big men for every crucial rebound. Rushing just took control of the ball game with his shooting and ball handling skills. He received a standing ovation at the final buzzer. It was one of the top performances ever seen at Sartain Hall (Trojan Arena).

I was there to watch the great ones like Jerry Tillman, Paul Ward, Tommy Whitehurst, Steve Holley, Anthony Reed, Daryl Thomas, David Felix, Carl Hollis, Marvin Sales, Cameron Boozer, Billy Cannon, John Duce and Terry McCord. They all would have marveled at Rushing’s performance.

All he did Monday night in Deland, Florida against Stetson was score 17 points and grab nine rebounds in Troy State’s 85-83 win.

The victory puts the Trojans in third place in the TAAC behind Georgia State and Samford.

The Trojans go on the road again this weekend against Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina on Saturday and Georgia State in Atlanta on Monday night.

Their next home game is Thursday night against Jacksonville University.

In other news, TSU head coach Larry Blakeney has hired John Shannon as his new offensive coordinator. Shannon replaces Don Jacobs who resigned that position two weeks ago. Shannon comes highly recommended by his peers after coaching the last five years at Jackson State, two years at Maryland and other stints at Pacific, Richmond, Maryville, Morehead State and Western Kentucky.

His Jackson State offense averaged over 500 yards a game last season.

For his accomplishments he was named Division 1-AA offensive coordinator of the year by the American Coaches Magazine.

Blakeney has filled every coaching vacancy but one and that one being the defensive secondary position that was vacated by Mark Fleetwood when he left to become quarterback coach at the Citadel.

My old high school football coach Frank Sadler is retiring from high school coaching in May and he’s coming back to live in south Alabama. Sadler, in his last year as head football coach and athletic director at Bob Jones High School in Huntsville, will be the guest of honor for his retirement party to be held at the Marriott Space Center on April 7th.

All former players and students are welcomed to attend.

Two of Sadler’s former players have made big names for themselves in the football world. The first is one of the country’s best defensive coordinators, Joe Lee Dunn of Mississippi State and the other is former Alabama star and all pro linebacker Woodrow Lowe.

What made Sadler so successful in high school coaching was how he motivated his players. He’d make you think you could run through a wall. I can’t help but think about the late Buff Nichols when I think about Sadler and the way he coached is at Charles Henderson High School.

Buff wasn’t big or fast by today’s standards but if there’s been a tougher football player to wear the orange and blue, I haven’t seen him.

Sadler made you believe!