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Thursday, May 22, 2008

KU signee Releford globe-trotting

KU signee Travis Releford (24) drives to the basket during the 2007 Price Chopper AAU tournament in this file photo.

KU signee Travis Releford (24) drives to the basket during the 2007 Price Chopper AAU tournament in this file photo.

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Kansas University freshman-to-be Travis Releford is in Shanghai, China, this week, playing basketball for an Adidas-sponsored high school all-star team.

"Travis has been able to experience some nice things of late," Kansas City Pump N Run coach L.J. Goolsby said of the 6-foot-5 guard out of Bishop Miege High in Roeland Park, who traveled to Germany two months ago with the U.S. Under 18 national team.

"I think it's tremendous. He has been able to do so much in terms of working on fundamental skills," Goolsby added.

He noted Releford - thanks to USA Basketball and Adidas Nations programs - has in the past year worked with former NBA coaches Paul Silas, Lionel Hollins and Ed Schilling.

"He traveled all over the United States last summer. Now there's talk of going to Paris later this summer (with Adidas Nations)," Goolsby said of Releford, who averaged 17.8 points and 6.5 boards in leading the U.S. to a fourth-place finish at the Schweitzer Games in Mannheim, Germany. There's also a chance Releford will be invited to USA Basketball's Under 18 team trials in July in Washington, D.C.

Releford will return to the U.S. on Sunday, gather his belongings and soon move to Lawrence for the start of summer school on June 3.

Releford recently learned he had qualified academically for a full scholarship and immediate eligibility at KU.

"I never had any doubts. He just had to take care of business in the classroom, get his core (scores) up," Goolsby said.

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The Big 12 men's basketball coaches, who voted 12-0 Tuesday at the league meetings to reject a proposal to expand the conference schedule from 16 to 18 games, encouraged each other to play tougher nonconference games.

That would increase the league's strength of schedule.

"It doesn't apply to us. (Some) schools feel the guarantee games (against smaller schools that do not require a return trip) are so expensive that they lose money playing the games," KU coach Bill Self said. "There was talk of scheduling smart."

KU has no problem making money on the guarantee games. Allen Fieldhouse, unlike the other schools' home arenas, sells out for all games.

The 2008 meetings were called to order with a special proclamation congratulating Self for leading KU to the 2008 national basketball title.

"It was no big deal. They did do that, and it was great," he said. "Other coaches were complimentary. I do think it (KU title) will help the league, bring attention to the league."

Comments

JayhawkPiller82 11 years, 6 months ago

I think the Conference's AD's proposed the change/addition to make schuduling easier for themselves. Many leagues are doing it (i.e. the Big East). Obviously there are mutual downsides or it wouldn't have failed 12-0. But, one up side to more conference games opens the prospect as someone else above put it "a real YEARLY rivalry series like NC &Duke have". Can anyone imagine them only playing ONCE a year on alternating home courts? KU vs Texas can never reach their level without a yearly home & away scheduled. So why not? My stomach can take it! I was in KC for the Big 12 Champ game. Who wouldn't want to watch that twice a year?

Joe Ross 11 years, 6 months ago

Ralster made a comment elsewhere in these posts that I find 100% agreement with regarding still being in awe of this championship.-KU wins the greatest Final Four ever in terms of winning the championship the first time all four number one seeds advanced.-The case for the greatest championship is bolstered by considering the participants (3 of the winningest programs in NCAA history in Kansas, UCLA and UNC along with the school who set the single-season record for wins in Memphis).-KU's win brings home the championship for the first time for a Big XII school.-KU exacts revenge over UNC, who defeated us in other championship games and who lured our beloved coach away several years ago (admit it: it DOES add to the sweetness a little).-KU jockeys into position on the all-time NCAA Championship list for number of wins on the big stage. We trail only UCLA, Kentucky, Indiana, and UNC and appear to be on track to being a championship contender under Coach Self for years to come.Yes, I too am still in awe. Interestingly, I think UNC's undoing was its early decided home court advantage, with never leaving the state until the FF. The Alamodome was not only more hostile, but MUCH LARGER compared to the Carolina venues which no doubt affected their depth perception on shots. Kansas, you recall, gained exposure to the large arena at Ford Field so that by the time they moved to the Alamodome it was a SMALLER arena to play in. UNC seemed to struggle making the adjustment to the size of the venue, as testified to in post-game comments by some of the players and coaching staff. Either way, good riddance.I'm also quite tired of hearing how it was a "miracle championship" for Kansas. WE DOMINATED MOST OF THE GAME, not only in dictating the tempo/imposing our game plan but also on the scoreboard.Miracle? Please. Destiny? Without a doubt...

11 years, 6 months ago

Great points all, jross. I think I recall you posting a similar list right after we won. One thing though, I have heard some players liken playing in a large domed stadium to playing outdoors with clear backboards, in regards to depth perception. I am sure there are those who would see it otherwise. I know until I heard the perspective I mentioned above from the players, I was firmly of the same belief as you.We truly were destined to win with the marvelously magnanimous TEAM we had this season!

nameer 11 years, 6 months ago

I think quick hands and strong bodies are what threw UNC off their game so much...I'm pretty sure they were used to either having a strength advantage down low with hansbrough, stephenson, and thompson, or having a speed advantage on the perimeter with lawson and ellington. Once they found out that our guards were equally as quick as them, and that we could shove, hack, and foul (yeah, we fouled A LOT down low) them down low all day and not suffer any bad effects (maybe even beneficial, seeing as how much cole dominated on tyler), they just had no answer.Probably the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, other than the last 2 minutes and overtime of the title game.

Joe Ross 11 years, 6 months ago

txrockchalk, strikewso, and nameer...nice rebuttals. in any case, it's great to be able to chew the fat on an NCAA Championship! At the beginning of the season I KNEW we had talent, but I have to admit I thought our chances for winning it all were somewhat suspect. Julian had left us. Brandon's knee was blown. Darnell Jackson's explosion could not have been foreseen. Cole Aldrich was green and inexperienced, and from what I saw of his games (including the McD's AA showcase) he didn't look good at all. Nevermind all of that. This group of guys came together under Coach Self and provided a season that we who witnessed it will look back on with great memories. This is what it means to be a Jayhawk!Let's get Xavier Henry on board...

jayhawkinATL 11 years, 6 months ago

Agree with your assessment, jross1972, 100%!!!!!

Joe Ross 11 years, 6 months ago

jaybate: if you have your ears on...Last year you made some points about how market share may affect CBS' selection/seeding of tournament teams. While I still hold that the CBS doesn't pull puppet strings over the Selection Committee, I found this article which suggests that the broadcasting company DOES, in fact, WANT certain teams to win and others NOT to. I share this in the spirit of full disclosure.http://www.cnbc.com/id/23880536/As I look at the population map of the US (http://www.census.gov/popest/gallery/maps/County-Population-07.html), it appears that UNC, UCLA, Duke, and Indiana are all in or very near heavily-populated centers. Kansas and Kentucky, however, are not. The above article mentions that UNC, UCLA and Kansas have the 2nd, 4th, and 6th most popular fan-followings in the nation. This is why I don't believe that Kansas is ever affected negatively by state/market size for seeding purposes. Incidentally, Im guessing Kentucky, Duke, and Indiana figure to be the 1st, 3rd, and 5th most popular programs respectively, based on population size and historical significance of their programs. But again, just a guess.

Jonathan Allison 11 years, 6 months ago

They play each divisional team twice, so that makes 10, and each South team once... 16. So I guess if they were going to expand to 18 games they would just rotate through the South playing two teams twice each year. It definitely seems unnecessary to me. If all of the coaches rejected the proposal I wonder who proposed the change. Must have come from the commish or somebody up there.

Joe Ross 11 years, 6 months ago

Anyone know the latest on Xavier Henry's recruitment? Isn't there a fall signing period? I hope he comes home to KU. Great environment. Great coach. Defeated BOTH of the other schools he's considering in the Final Four. It's where his father played. I mean come on...COME HOME XAVIER!!!!

Timmay97 11 years, 6 months ago

I agree with the schedule the way it is right now, but you have to admit........seeing KU play Texas twice each year could seriously turn into a huge rivalry ala UNC and Duke. The past few times those two teams have played have been incredible games. It wouldn't do wonders for my stomach, but would be entertaining. Somewhat off the subject.....I noticed that ESPN ranked KU's recruiting class #5 coming in this year. Here's what I love about that. KU's commits are all rated 4 stars based on Rivals and Scout (though I think at least one of the Morris twins would have been a 5 star player). The fact that they are rated that high, with 4 star players tells me Self TOTALLY knows what he's doing. Case and point: these are kids that are going to stay at KU for at least 3 years. I doubt any of them will be good enough to jump to the pros immediately. Therefore, hopefully they can accomplish what Chalmers, Jackson, Kaun, Robinson, Rush did and glide their way to the promise land. It is intriguing....

Mike Crosbie 11 years, 6 months ago

Great experience for Releford!! Speaking as a world traveler since age 17, I know how travel can awe, and fatigue. The experience he's getting just with all the travel will prepare him even better coming to our schedule. One of the "intangibles" that matures him as a man.Rock Chalk ChampionHawk !!

Bradley Vogel 11 years, 6 months ago

Don't they already play 16 conference games?

nameer 11 years, 6 months ago

I don't know, I think that Marcus morris can at least go pro...he's got the skills to play small forward and NBA scouts would go crazy over his 6'9" frame at that position.Releford too...he's playing with the national teams and is already really skilled, I bet you if he'd spent a year in NC (like Rush) then he'd have just as much hype coming in as Rush did. Can't say I don't like it better this way though, especially since he's stuck around the region his whole life.

Hawklin 11 years, 6 months ago

Yes bluejay.... The meeting was to expand from 16 to 18 games.

jayhawkinATL 11 years, 6 months ago

I agree...the change in the number of conference games doesn't really make sense unless you're trying to play everyone twice. Then that would make 22 games...quite a lot.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 6 months ago

Jross, great post, but I do have one point of contention: Do you reeeally think depth perception had anything to do with the thumping Carolina took? Weren't we up like 40-8 at one point? UNC only saw KU Crimson and Blue smothering them most of the game so the depth perception probably wasn't much of a player.

ralsterKUMed95 11 years, 6 months ago

Great posts, everyone. I have solidified my belief of the last 2 years that Self's style of ball is much more complete compared to UNC's "run only" philosophy. They (Tarheels) ran into our buzz saw defensively--Ellington looked slow, and Lawson disappeared for most of the game. Brandon Rush jumps higher than Psyco-T... Hansborough got WORKED by the KU frontline and exposed to be just a 6'9", hard-working/hard floppin' player, NOT a 6'9" explosive athelete with quickness ala Darrell Arthur. Can you imagine Shady next year at KU if he had stayed? 20-10 every night as much more of the offense would have gone through him--but he is wise to move on if truly a lottery pick...What I love the most about the UNC game is the question: "so WHO got 'ran'?" Bill Self just taught Roy Williams and the entire UNC-lovin' crowd a major lesson about basketball.

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