To Brandon Rush's right in the Pacers locker room sits Dahntay Jones. To his left, Troy Murphy. Just around the corner is Earl Watson.
Those might be his most obvious compatriots but, truth be told, he has a friend in every locker.
When Rush has a game like Tuesday night, when he stepped into the small forward position made vacant by Danny Granger's one-game NBA suspension and scored 24 points with nine rebounds, hitting four 3-pointers to play a key role in a 107-96 victory over Philadelphia, the whole team smiles.
"He's the best," said Murphy. "He's got a great attitude and he's a really good guy and we all really do root for him. He's a very likeable guy and he's popular in our locker room.
"He's a good guy. People don't know him. He's doing his best, he's coming along, he's making a lot of progress and he's going to be a really good player."
Jones scored 25 points but seemed to enjoy talking more about Rush.
"Brandon's a great person, first and foremost, and he works extremely hard," Jones said. "He's a great teammate and guys root for him and genuinely care about the guy and want him to be successful.
"We all know his potential. He's a work in progress. He understands that. He doesn't really get frustrated much, he just stays working at his craft, trying to get better."
Few players have faced the level of scrutiny and criticism as Rush, who has showed alternating flashes of dazzing brilliance and baffling passivity in his first two NBA seasons. Very quietly, however, Rush has found a level of consistency in the past couple of months, settling into a productive rhythm.
In the last 22 games, Rush has averaged 11.7 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting .461 from the 3-point line. The numbers aren't dazzling but they do reflect considerable improvement from a very slow start. And it should be remembered he's one of the team's best defenders, consistently drawing the toughest wing assignment.
"Brandon has been playing really consistent basketball for a while now," said Coach Jim O'Brien. "He knows that we're very proud of how he has developed and the confidence he is playing with. … He's playing with confidence, and when you look at Roy (Hibbert) and Brandon playing with that type of confidence, their development is something we're very pleased with."
When his teammates look at Rush, they don't just see a player with talent. They see a somewhat shy, eminently likeable young man with an engaging personality and a quick smile.
Watson, who has known Rush since he was a toddler in Kansas City, has been his biggest champion.
"He has the potential to become I think an All-Star on a winning team," Watson said. "It's just about him learning the game, studying the game and being taught the game. Everybody wants to help him – the players want to help him, the coaching staff wants to help him, the organization I think loves him. He has that personality where he has like a child-like charm to him. He's always been like that since I've known him."
But nobody knows who has the goods more than players. And Rush's teammate know he has the goods. That's another reason they're so willing to circle the wagons around him.
"He can be great," said Murphy. "He's so talented. He gets some rebounds in games and it's like, 'Where did he come from?' He gets some amazing rebounds, we put him on the best perimeter player a lot of times to start games, he shoots threes.
"He's really as talented a guy as there is around. And he's just scratching the surface. Once he figures his whole routine out he's going to be a beast."
His teammates believe Rush will be every bit worth the wait. Better than anyone, they should know.