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Rusty LaRue



Rusty LaRue (born December 10, 1973) is an American former multi-sport athlete who played basketball, baseball, and football at Wake Forest University. He later played for the Chicago Bulls team that won the 1998 National Basketball Association championship. Born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he was listed at 6'3" (1.90 m) and 185 pounds (84 kg). He was an assistant coach at his alma mater, Wake Forest, under head coaches Dino Gaudio and Jeff Bzdelik.

High school and college

LaRue attended Northwest Guilford High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, where, in addition to being an honors student, he earned All-State honors in baseball, basketball, and football. As a senior in 1991, he was named North Carolina Athlete of the Year, and he attracted the attention of many colleges before choosing to attend Wake Forest, where he planned to play both basketball and football in the ACC. LaRue also played collegiate baseball for one season, becoming just the second player in ACC history to play three sports in the same year. He was 1 of only 4 players to beat Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium all four years, the others being Tim Duncan, Tyler Hansbrough, and Danny Green.

LaRue arguably had his most collegiate success on the football field. As a freshman quarterback in 1992, he was a member of Wake Forest's football team that took home an Independence Bowl victory, and during his senior year he broke eight NCAA records for passing, including the record for most completions in one game (55). However, LaRue was a solid basketball player, as well, as he helped his teammates reach the NCAA Tournament for four consecutive seasons. He also finished second in school history in three-point field goals made, and he finished first all-time in three-point field goal percentage.

Professional playing career

After college, LaRue decided to focus exclusively on basketball because there were more opportunities to play professionally. Though he was not drafted by an NBA team, he earned a spot on the Chicago Bulls' roster in 1997 after honing his craft in the minor leagues for one season. During the 1997–98 NBA season, LaRue averaged 3.5 points per game in limited playing time and earned an NBA Championship ring in the process. He would receive more minutes during the next season after Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Steve Kerr left the team, and he averaged 4.7 points and 1.5 assists per game while making 33.7% of his three-point field goal attempts. However, the Bulls cut ties with LaRue during the 1999–2000 NBA season as they continued their post-dynasty rebuilding process, and he returned to the minor leagues before signing with the Russian team CSKA Moscow in 2000.

After a year in Russia, LaRue returned to America and briefly played for the NBA's Utah Jazz during the 2001–02 NBA season (signed January 28, 2002) before going back to the European leagues, where he joined the Italian team Pallacanestro Varese. In 2003, he returned to the NBA, this time as a member of the Boston Celtics, but he was waived before appearing in a regular season game; he would appear in four games for the Golden State Warriors towards the end of the season.

Coaching career

LaRue served as head men's basketball coach at Greensboro College in 2004-05 and later was athletics director and basketball coach at Forsyth Country Day School in Winston-Salem.

In 2009, he re-joined the Wake Forest men's basketball program as an assistant coach under Dino Gaudio. He was retained as an assistant by new head coach Jeff Bzdelik in 2010. He was released by Wake Forest's new coach, Danny Manning in 2014.

On June 30, 2015, LaRue was named the new men's basketball coach at West Forsyth High School. West Forsyth was attended by Chris Paul, another former Wake Forest player.

NBA career statistics

Regular season

|- | style="text-align:left;background:#afe6ba;"| 1997–98† | style="text-align:left;"| Chicago | 14 || 0 || 10.0 || .408 || .250 || .625 || .6 || .4 || .2 || .1 || 3.5 |- | style="text-align:left;"| 1998–99 | style="text-align:left;"| Chicago | 43 || 6 || 17.0 || .359 || .337 || 1.000 || 1.3 || 1.5 || .8 || .1 || 4.7 |- | style="text-align:left;"| 1999–00 | style="text-align:left;"| Chicago | 4 || 1 || 32.3 || .349 || .143 || .714 || 2.5 || 2.8 || 1.8p || .0 || 9.3 |- | style="text-align:left;"| 2001-02 | style="text-align:left;"| Utah | 33 || 0 || 16.4 || .395 || .340 || .857 || 1.5 || 2.2 || .5 || .2 || 5.8 |- | style="text-align:left;"| 2003-04 | style="text-align:left;"| Golden State | 4 || 0 || 5.5 || .333 || 1.000 || .500 || .8 || .5 || .5 || .0 || 1.0 |- | style="text-align:left;"| Career | style="text-align:left;"| | 98 || 7 || 16.0 || .376 || .318 || .841 || 1.3 || 1.6 || .6 || .1 || 5.0

Playoffs

|- | style="text-align:left;"| 2001-02 | style="text-align:left;"| Utah | 4 || 0 || 13.3 || .375 || .400 || .600 || 1.5 || 1.5 || .2 || .0 || 5.0 |- | style="text-align:left;"| Career | style="text-align:left;"| | 4 || 0 || 13.3 || .375 || .400 || .600 || 1.5 || 1.5 || .2 || .0 || 5.0