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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ready for action: After red-shirt season, KU’s Travis Releford eager to play again

Kansas guard/forward Travis Releford snags a loose ball during warmups before the Jayhawks’ game against Baylor on Jan. 20 in Allen Fieldhouse. Releford, a sophomore from Kansas City, Mo., red-shirted last season.

Kansas guard/forward Travis Releford snags a loose ball during warmups before the Jayhawks’ game against Baylor on Jan. 20 in Allen Fieldhouse. Releford, a sophomore from Kansas City, Mo., red-shirted last season.

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It’s seemed like an eternity since Travis Releford last played in a Kansas University men’s basketball game.

“I have no idea. I can’t remember. It’s been that long,” said the 6-foot-6 sophomore guard/forward from Kansas City, Mo., unable to recall the specifics of his last appearance in a Jayhawk uniform.

“I am very excited. After sitting out and red-shirting ... I have my chance this year. It’s going to be fun,” added Releford, referring to today’s home exhibition opener against Washburn University (7 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse).

He has been inactive since a one-minute outing in KU’s second-round NCAA Tournament victory over Dayton on March 22, 2009, in Minneapolis.

“Just knocking down open shots, creating for my teammates and defending,” Releford said of what he hopes to bring to the table.

He’s not the only KU veteran hitting the court tonight for the first time in a long time.

Senior Mario Little, who last played in KU’s 2009 Sweet 16 loss to Michigan State in Indianapolis, also returns after practicing a full year but not playing in games.

“I am not in a hurry, but I’m anxious to get out there,” said the 6-6 guard/forward from Chicago.

“It’s been humbling, stressful at times. Certain times being in Allen Fieldhouse with the fans screaming and it being a big game and full of anticipation, you couldn’t help but want to play so bad,” Little added of 2009-10.

“I’d get hyped warming up, anticipating, then I’d have to sit on the bench and clap. It was kind of disappointing to me. The red-shirt year was very humbling, but I’m glad I took it.”

KU coach Bill Self, who hadn’t decided whether one of them, both of them or neither will start tonight, is happy to have the two available for duty.

“They’ve done well. Mario can score, and Travis has been good. I don’t know who I’m going to start tomorrow, but both are in consideration for that,” said Self.

He said Little has played power forward 70 percent of the time in practice and Releford 40 percent of the time this preseason with big men Jeff Withey (foot, unavailable tonight) and Markieff Morris (hernia, available for duty) coming off injuries.

“Mario is national juco player of the year who has not had a chance to show his stuff. Travis would have played for us last year, but would not have had the impact last year as he would three years from now as a fifth-year senior,” Self said. “Red-shirting guarantees graduation. They are both good players.”

Both are willing to play both inside and out.

“I’ve been down there helping out, trying to make guys better and all that,” Little said.

“Whatever it takes for the team to win,” Releford added.

They’re not the only ones raring to get started tonight. Sophomore power forward Thomas Robinson has high hopes after a somewhat inconsistent freshman campaign.

“Practice has been tough. There’s a lot of stuff coach has had to put in, a lot of teaching, trying to get ready for the season,” Robinson said. “We’ve been really going over defense. People are judging us off being a fast team this year. We’ll use all our athleticism on defense, trying to get points off that.”

Tonight they’ll try to defeat a Washburn team that’ll start five seniors.

“We’ve been beating up on each other for a whole summer now. I want to play against somebody else. It’s time for the season to start,” Robinson said.

Comments

rpboy06 11 years, 3 months ago

any way to watch this exhibition game since im not in the kc area anymore?

Ron Franklin 11 years, 3 months ago

keep checking back...somebody will come up with something>

try channelsurfing.net on line. This is usually the last place I go, but can find the game more often than not.

I also hear that Fox or Fox Sports will be carrying it.....and local access tv like Jayhawk TV.

omng392 11 years, 3 months ago

Try ESPN Full Court. They might have it. I usually get the whole season, but it sometimes skips the exhibition games. Could always listen to Max on internet radio.

John Strayer 11 years, 3 months ago

Full Court doesn't start until the regular season starts. Fox Sport KC is carrying tonights exhibition. So unless you like in KC and get channel 62, or have cable or satellite with a sports package that carries all Fox sport stations, you might be out of luck.

I also read that Jayhawk All-Access will be carrying the video feed for the game too, but don't know about the quality of that feed. All-Access usually only carries the radio broadcast.

LAJayhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

jpstrayer is correct, Full Court doesn't start until regular season games. All Access is okay, but stupidly expensive, especially since I would only use it for these two games, and then Full Court for the rest (that aren't nationally televised). I REALLY wish KUAD would set All Access up for a single game purchase. I would have probably paid up to $5 for just the radio broadcast of the Iowa St game last week, and this game this week.

And as to internet radio, omng392, they black it out during game broadcasts so you are forced to purchase All Access (also, Max retired). I understand KUAD wanting to make money, but give us a single game option. They can either get $10-$20 out of me (for 4 games - 2 bball, 2 fball), or none at all.

I'll try JustinTV or one of the other internet sources instead. Sorry KUAD.

Matthew Roesner 11 years, 3 months ago

AT&T U-verse is carrying the game. Channel 62/1062HD on KSMO. Another reason to get U-verse.

rges 11 years, 3 months ago

im in the st.louis area and it is on fox sports here

Chris Shaw 11 years, 3 months ago

So here is the deal for tonight's game. I live out of state (NC) and channel 672 was going to carry the game, but they have now switched it over to the Newman-Kansas State game. Direc TV just changed the programming this morning so 672 (At least where I'm located) won't carry the game tonight.

ESPN Full Court doesn't start until Nov 16th, according to the Direc TV representative I spoke to just moments ago.

The only option is what the poster posted on yesterday's article about going to KUathletics.com and paying the $9.99 for that coverage. That's all I know, but that is what I know.

Ksjhawk9 11 years, 3 months ago

Sign up for Jayhawk All Access and watch these games LIVE on KUathletics.com.

duanep5ku 11 years, 3 months ago

Hi Kansas fans I only hope is that Bill Self keeps an open mind this year and plays the best player's at each position before he even thinks about red shirting anyone. I mean TT may be better this year,if so great but unless he's ready to play smarter then he has in the past, lets not just pencil him in as a starter yet. let's give all the players on the team a fair chance to earn the starting role at all positions. Don't just give the positions away and stay with that choice til the end. I think the biggest problem with last years team was Bill Self showed to much loyalty to certain players, which is great but I still think some better choices was left sitting on the bench. "Oh I have a question to any and or all posters on this site.. I have read more stories about TT as an NBA player and he's the reason KU will have a good back court this year. Does that scare anyone besides me, I mean how many believe that TT is NBA good from what we have seen so far from him on the court.

theajayhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

Let the man do his job. You keep doing yours, whatever it is.

duanep5ku 11 years, 3 months ago

Hey, theajayhawk I posted early on the site and if my post came of as sounding like I was criticizing anyone that was not my intention. All I want is the best players on the court, whomever that may be.

KGphoto 11 years, 3 months ago

WTF? Take your anthonyzal before you have a conniption.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 3 months ago

Duane, there really is no need to apoligize. I didn't find anything wrong with your post so disregard the classless individual from above. He or she has hard time separting out the true intentions of a post.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 3 months ago

LMAO! Imagine that? 2 more of Anthonyzal's posts got removed.

jhox 11 years, 3 months ago

No question Taylor will play in the NBA. You can't coach the quickness and the first step he has. He had his ups and downs last year, but I thought he got better as the season went on.

The guy in the NBA I would most compare him to is Rondo with the Celtics. You may laugh at that, but if you saw Rondo in college, I believe you would realize that's a fair comparison. Rondo wasn't great in college, but the speed and quickness were unmistakeable. Once he got to the NBA and figured out his role, he became one of the most valuable players in the league. I'm not saying Taylor will turn out as good as Rondo, but I do believe at the college level the skills were comparable.

When Taylor does decide to make the leap, I'm guessing he goes late first round.

duanep5ku 11 years, 3 months ago

Jhox I do agree with your post because speed is great and if TT could use his speed and develop some shooting ability that would be nice.

rges 11 years, 3 months ago

i agree with just about everything you say here... He frustrates me so much sometimes but you cannot deny his incredible quickness and athleticism.

I absolutley think that he is going to be a better NBA player than a college player. It is going to help him going in the late first round becuase he will be drafted on to a good team with chances are a established point guard to learn under for his first or second years in the league.

But as much help as Tyshawn needs help with his shooting he is right now a much better shooter than Rondo!!!! Rondo is a better passer though.

jhox 11 years, 3 months ago

Part of Taylor's problem last year was that he seemed to think early on that it was his role to be a scorer. He clearly had thoughts of an early exit to the NBA in his head, and it changed the way he played the game. I hope he's figured out by now that he's not going to be considered as a high draft pick in the NBA because he's a scoring guard. He's never going to be that on the NBA level, and he needs to work on the things that will make him valuable to someone at that next level.

I was trying to remember the last guard we had with his kind of speed and quickness and about the only person that came to mind was Hinrich. Tyshawn is quicker than Russell, Mario, even Jacque. He's got Hinrich's speed and is probably a little quicker with the first step than Kirk. He doesn't have the all around skill that Kirk had, and he's probably never going to be the shooter Kirk is, but he can become a great defender and assist guy if he keeps working on those things.

Oddly enough, I consider Tyshawn's shooting to be more than adequate. He hits enough open 3's to force teams to come out and guard him. Like you point out, he's a much better shooter than Rondo. I agree with that completely. He wasn't recruited to be a high scoring 2 guard. As he continues to figure out his role, he's going to become more and more valuable.

Peaceout257 11 years, 3 months ago

i think that you are right. Do you know how good that one guy that red shirted last year is? if you do please comment me back. Hurry

Thanks

TenaciousD 11 years, 3 months ago

It will be interesting to see how TT's play changes this year without being behind the shadow of Sherron. Sherron was kind of an alpha dog and that might be some of what caused TT's attitude in the past.

Hopefully TT will show a different side of him this year. He reminds me of Rajon Rondo (super fast, good ball handler, not a great shooter) and hopefully he will be an assist machine this year.

Jacobpaul81 11 years, 3 months ago

Sherron often got in the way. His way of play did not match up well with TT, MM x2, etc. Very slow, very give me the ball and I'll do everything, and very poor defensively, which slowed these young guys down. I expect very good things this season.

Michael Luby 11 years, 3 months ago

Just one thing. H311 freekin Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!! I cant wait!

KU_Alumn_2000 11 years, 3 months ago

I predict that Relaford will be a defensive freak on the court this year. With his improvement on defense...and the fact that he is only a sophmore...I look for HCBS to start him over Little the majority of the time.

This team is gonna be freaky fast and athletic. Hopefully they can control all of that quickness and turn it into production.

Ryan Martin 11 years, 3 months ago

I'm just hopin we land McLemore this week. We need some size next year.

HCBS always has a good game plan. KU 91 Washburn 54

steamboat 11 years, 3 months ago

Yep we need to get McLemore. Like the FB team we need to get a little size on the court. I think we are getting a little guard heavy.

duanep5ku 11 years, 3 months ago

I hope we get Ben McLemore too but my only concern about Ben if you believe all the talk. Is Ben's parents seem to like MU. I do hope the mom likes Kansas also but has anyone on here heard about the parents wishes concerning the two schools or are they MU biased.

REHawk 11 years, 3 months ago

IMPACT: a key word to consider for a 5th year senior engaged in playing Bill Self-ball. That redshirt option is a very humbling experience for a 4-star or 5-star player. But at KU it is a marvelous opportunity to reach the level of IMPACT.

ParisHawk 11 years, 3 months ago

I think we are deeper at shooting guard than point guard. Help me out here: would you say EJ and Royce are shooting guards, combo guards or what?

As for next year, we stand to lose at most one big (Marcus) and five non-bigs (Little, Reed, Morningstar, TT, Selby). We won't be too deep at any position.

F_N_Genius 11 years, 3 months ago

Not sure what it means, but

I had a dream lastnight of McLemore driving to the hoop in a KU jersey. Now i'll be the first to admit, I have not been following the recruiting trail as much this year as I have in the past, and I've only heard about McLemore from whats been posted/reported on here. But if anything, I hope I had a Darrell Arthur moment and McLemore chooses KU.

Justin Carlson 11 years, 3 months ago

There has been a lot of focus individually on everyone on this team including the new guys. My question is "why are we not hearing about probably the most athletic player on the whole team "E. Johnson?" What does this guy have to do to get some PT? In limited action last year I thought he performed well. He looks explosive and extremly talented. What are your thoughts?

Theutus 11 years, 3 months ago

My thoughts are that EJ should start.... But looking at Coach Self's history, he'll probably start TT no matter how bad he plays.

He did the same thing with Sherron.... Never pulled him no matter how ugly it got. It's one of the very few things I dislike about his coaching style, but it's just my opinion.

TenaciousD 11 years, 3 months ago

Theutus - my guess and humble opinion is that if we were watching practice every day we would pick the same guys as Coach Self to play in the games. In the games, EJ and TRob were careless with the ball last year and that's probably how they are in practice too.

Theutus 11 years, 3 months ago

I am going to bite my tongue here when it comes to TT, because quite frankly I don't like him...

But when it comes to EJ, i don't see how anyone could say he's "careless with the ball". He never saw enough time on the court last year to show us anything, much less "careless".

He saw 20 or 30 seconds in a hand full of games. If you are going to judge him on that much play, you should definitely be calling out Taylor for all of his god awful jumping in the air with nowhere to go and errant passes.

TenaciousD 11 years, 3 months ago

Again, Theutus. His "minutes" are logged in practice. Bill Self doesn't have the same philosophy as Allen Iverson.... practice matters. :)

My guess is EJ's TO to assist ratio in the limited minutes he has played is too high.

Theutus 11 years, 3 months ago

That is all assumption.... We can really only judge based on what we see on the court, because we don't see practice....

And on the court, Taylor can't keep his head together. EJ hasn't seen "minutes". He's barely seen 30 seconds on the court in the final minute. Not nearly enough to call out a TO to Assist ratio.

Again, i'll try my best to let TT earn some respect from me this year... But I just don't see it happening. I still prefer to see EJ start, even if it means a few more TO's, because he's our future.

Justin Carlson 11 years, 3 months ago

Just for fun!! Thank God it is 11-2-2010 BASKETBALL SEASON! 7hrs and counting!

EJ BELOW!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4pt6WxK644

mtdewjunkie 11 years, 3 months ago

i had totally forgotten about that dunk...just awesome.

Michael Luby 11 years, 3 months ago

The last I remember, Coach Self doesnt differentiate between the one and two spots. He calls them both combo guards.

bayareajhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

I think Bill recognizes the existence of specialist point guards and shooting guards, but doesn't really want them on his team. Bill wants to have combo guards (hybrids; guys who can handle/distribute the ball and score) so his teams can be more versatile and less predictable. He has recruited combo guards throughout his coaching career. His Illinois team with Deron Williams and Dee Brown might have had the ideal Bill Self backcourt. Too bad they wore orange instead of blue! Another Bill Self pair of combo guards in Chalmers and Collins got us a national championship, though. We'll take that.

Almost every guard on the roster this year is a combo guard. Let's hope some of these guys take the next step and turn into a backcourt we can talk about for a long time. It could be any mix of Tyshawn, Tyrel, Brady, Elijah, or the #1 Freshman in the Nation, Mr. Josh Selby.

Typing that list just got me really excited! Let's play some basketball. And let's redshirt Royce Wooldridge. He is going to be good. I want to have him for a fifth year when he will lead the team along with Naadir Tharpe. That, too should be a pretty nice backcourt.

Michael Luby 11 years, 3 months ago

Heck ya! Nice post, I cant wait for the game tonight!!

Scott Oswalt 11 years, 3 months ago

I believe the game will be shown on:

http://www.kuathletics.com/allaccess/

Password for a free month: freemonth10

shinguard 11 years, 3 months ago

On a similar note: I am in Vegas (on business :-( ) at the MGM Grand does anyone know if any of the big sports bars will have the capability of showing this game?

Perhaps someone has done this before or knows of a local KU watch party site.

Thanks in advance!

Chris Shaw 11 years, 3 months ago

soswalt: that coupon or password didn't work. Doesn't really matter though. If you bought the $9.99 monthly subscription will that allow you to view the "Premium" events?

Right now the video is a faded gray and you can't even click on it. Will it be accessible once it turns 7:00? Sorry for the question, just trying to figure it out. Thanks.

rpboy06 11 years, 3 months ago

yeah, the coupon code was for last month and i used it to watch late night. Once the 7pm tipoff comes around and you have the access it won't be greyed out anymore.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 3 months ago

Much Thanks! Good info. I thought it was going to be on channel 672 on Direc TV, but they changed their programming this morning to the K-State game. Grrrrrrrrrr

kkoenig 11 years, 3 months ago

freemonth09 works for the CBSSports.com ULive Monthly Subscription $14.95

Turnergill4life 11 years, 3 months ago

What are we going to do when KSU beats us this year. After that whooping they gave us in football and now soon to be basketball. This is going to be a tough one to swallow. KSU is going to be really really good this year.

KuKain 11 years, 3 months ago

Overrated, can't wait to watch them fall flat on their faces.

bayareajhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

KSU will do well to be 3rd in the conference. KU and Baylor have the 2 best teams in the Big XII. Losing Clemente will hurt the Cats more than they think. We will pound them twice this season (as usual).

Justin Daniel 11 years, 3 months ago

Go back to kitty town you K-State troll. No way KSU beats us this year. Rock Chalk all the way to 7 Big 12 chamionships in a row!

Justin Daniel 11 years, 3 months ago

I'd be happy to let me know how much and will do it!

Jayhawker413 11 years, 3 months ago

I'd damn near bet my life on it... We'll pound those purple pussies

Turnergill4life 11 years, 3 months ago

Wait a sec. What in the hell makes you think I am a k state kitty kat? I have been a Jayhawk longer than any of you probably. I'm just making an observation. Nothing more. Take it easy.

Justin Carlson 11 years, 3 months ago

No doubt KSU is going to be solid but.........they lose the thug clemente and havent filled that void my guess is halfway through the conference season Pullens is injured because Frankie is playing him 35-37 mins/game trying to take up the slack! The bigs for KSU vs. KU is a wash except MM! We are a lot deeper, more athletic at the guard spot and deeper as a whole team! KSU is solid until Pullens gets tired or goes on the DL! Can you imagine Frank trying to game plan is one and only all conference/america guard against possibly 4 or 5 of ours!

Final standings

1 KU

2 MU (gets this spot because they will beat the crap out of Pullens and bigs in foul trouble all year)

3 KSU

4 Baylor (Until they go on probation)

5 Texas

6 Texas A&M

7-12 who cares only top 6 going to the dance

kuhull 11 years, 3 months ago

Releford has always seemed like a great athlete in transition, but it seems this year we will need more of Marios's ability to post some. Especially if you believe Coach in that he says Marcus may be our best shooting #2. Now this appears to be a motivating tool to EJ and TT to improve their shots, but the point is that it seems Coach is looking to have Marcus float some instead of post all night. TRob has great energy, but we all know he' ll have 2 fouls in 9 seconds and his shot is Horrible. Great Rebounder, needs development from there. That all said, I see Little starting for total offensive ability over Releford. When we get #32 cleared, we have so many more options then. Deep run depends on him and TRob development.

KuKain 11 years, 3 months ago

Surely T. Rob has improved now that Manning has had a year to work with him. Hopefully.....

Theutus 11 years, 3 months ago

If you remember, Cole was the same as T-Rob his freshman year... In a sense that he came in, fouled real quick and burned some time...

I think this is intentional. It slows down the clock, wears on the other team, and gives our guys on the bench more breather...

I think T-Rob will be just fine...

Paul Meyer 11 years, 3 months ago

Nice to read an article about a "Redshirt & Play," instead of one about speculating over a "One and Done." It would make for an nice addendum documentary to "Hoops Dreams" about players who opt early for the pros & money vs. college degrees & championships. Some interesting case studies for the highs & lows: Paul Pierce, Drew Gooden, & Julian Wright.

keith horinek 11 years, 3 months ago

Haven't heard anything about Morningstar. He's ready to play isn't he?

Ed Brown 11 years, 3 months ago

After watching the painful football of the cowBoys and the Hawks with a combined record of something like 2-12, I didn't think today would ever get here. Now, if I can only get a link to watch the game tonight, life would be grand. I did get to Late Night in the Phog and the highlight for me was seeing Marcus ally oop to Selby for a slamma-jamma. Selby's bottom half of his legs were all you could see because his shorts were so long but they were huge like Darnell Valentine's thighs!

Let the games begin! ROCK CHALK JAYHAWKS!!

Turnergill4life 11 years, 3 months ago

Ya, morningstar is ready to go bigtime. Heard he was back to 100%.

100 11 years, 3 months ago

Uh.... Yeah.

Isn't there anything going on with dollar cheeseburgers today in downtown Aggieville?

Turnergill4life 11 years, 3 months ago

Why do you think I am a kitty kat? I was simply talking about morningstar and his status. What is your problem?

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago

ralster, regarding PT allocations for Kieff (from yesterday)...

What Will Happen:

Self expects Kieff to start when he does come back, so he will set the team up as he would were Kieff playing, and plug Little into Kieff's spot most of the time. He'll do this, because the early cupcakes will be wins with Little, despite his lack of size. He'll also do it, because he will expect to play only one or two majors during Kieff's return to full time play, and so take only one or two losses early. Kieff TRob and Releford will spell Little (and god forbid, Marcus) early on.

Again, going small will be used to preserve the rest of the team scheme Self has already arrived at for the long haul. And it will keep the W&L statement looking as good as possible in this rebuilding season. The key assumption here is that a small Little making few mistakes is better than a big TRob fouling out quickly.

What I Would Prefer:

This team will going to have to take quite a few losses (and some nasty looking ones, too), if it were to develop the players it needs to be a significant threat come March. Kieff, Marcus and Tyrel have to get used to being cornerstones. Selby, Little, TRob, Tyrel, and The Prophet all have to get comfortable being D1 25-30 minute men. And this team has to have at least 3 bigs ready to play 30 minutes, when match-ups and fouls dictate. They team is not remotely at this point yet.

To me, the keys to this season being a good one are now Kieff and TRob. Without both sufficiently developed and healthy, to go with Marcus, we are SOL, as a conference challenger and as a threat in the Madness. With them, we are a credible play it any way you want Okie Baller crew (note: I won't go into the XTReme Muscle issues, or lack there of, here.) Let's just focus on Kieff and TRob for now.

When Kieff's competition among bigs is TRob and Withey, there is little chance Kieff will not have to start and play a lot of minutes, regardless of whether Kieff is developed now, or later.

The critical issue is Kieff's risk of reinjury. A season without Kieff would turn the team into the runnin' runts with a foul prone TRob, which would satisfy all the "let's get athletic" types, but which would mean KU was basically fielding a team like Okie State last season.

The risk of playing without Kieff is soooooo great the rational move is to let him develop as a cornerstone player after January. I say treat Kieff exactly the way Self treated Brandon Rush, after Rush's knee injury. Give Kieff 5 minutes per game for a couple weeks, then ten, then 15, then 20, then 25, then 30. Rush came on faster than was structured, but the structure was clearly laid for a deliberate return. Structure the progression for Kieff to be complete around January 1st, or a week or two before, if Kieff comes along faster than expected.

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago

In the interim, resist the temptation to pad the W&L statement with Little playing most of the minutes. Be willing to take losses while playing TRob big minutes. Give TRob the most development minutes between now and January 1st that Kieff's rehab permits, so that:

a) you don't lose Kieff for the season to a reinjury; and

b) you develop TRob to the maximum possible before conference gets here.

Again, we know Kieff can play conference level competition at the 4, if he's healthy for 20 minutes at the 4. What we don't know is if he can handle the stress of 30 minutes at the 5. It is a big question mark, but his best chance of delivering is playing healthy and growing into it slowly, rather than be thrown limping and gimping to the dogs early. Giving TRob the baptism of fire early is the lower risk strategy with the higher pay off later. Low risk. High return. Never pass up that combo.

What we lack entirely right now is even a third, credible big. Withey will take until after January even to round into shape, after all the muscle atrophy that goes with an fx and a boot. And Withey is farther behind than TRob in any case. This is unfortunate, because we need a guy with Withey's wing span, but that's how it is this year. Due to Withey's injury, Withey's probably destined to be the fourth big this season, unless TRob really just can't walk and chew gum.

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago

We've got to develop TRob ASAP. If he flops, we can always resort to Little and the Runnin' Runts in January, when Kieff, starting by then, needs a blow.

Of course, what Self will most likely do is either:

a) play Little at the 4 until Kieff is healthy, so as to maintain his W&L statement; or

b) ask Kieff to man-up and risk injury by going big minutes early.

Self has a history of basing PT decisions stemming from injuries to key players on the following two rules:

1) "A win now is worth two in the bush." and

2) Scheme the team to create a plug and play slot for the injured player when he returns, play undersize persons if necessary performing the position as the injured player will when he returns, and then hurry that injured player's return.

Inference: Mario Little, get ready to play the 4...a lot.

Trade-offs: Better looking W&L early with Little, but a less developed trio of bigs come March and so less chance to be a significant threat.

Closing Thought: We'll probably know soon quite a bit more about how serious Self is about this team possibly being a serious challenger for March. The developmental choices he makes early will telegraph his true convictions. If he were to go with Little a lot early at the 4, it would mean he thinks this is really just a season about trying to make the W&L statement look as good as possible before an early end to the season; i.e., he doesn't think he has the bigs necessary to challenge serious at season's end. If, on the other hand, he risks a big investment in TRob early, and incurs the losses necessary to develop him, then it would seem that he really does think this team could become something special in March...with three credible bigs.

REHawk 11 years, 3 months ago

JCAR2510, I am more than somewhat with you re Missouri ascension this season. If the Jayhawks defeat K State twice during the regular season, I envision Missouri managing to climb into at least a tie for second place in the conference. Mike Anderson has recruited more polished recruits to commit to his 40 minutes of mayhem. Especially if that Tony Mitchell kid out of Dallas gains eligibility by second semester, the Tigers are going to be a real handful for everyone in the Big 12. Here's hoping that the Baylor program remains in turmoil and that Scott Drew doesn't luck out for another serious end of season run. He certainly has not ingratiated himself with conference fans and coaches in the way that most other Big 12 coaches have managed to do.

REHawk 11 years, 3 months ago

jaybate: Little and the Runnin' Runts...O MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike Nicco 11 years, 3 months ago

Any poster on this site who lives around St. Louis knows how hard it is for a kid not to go to Mizzou if he is raised in St. Louis. I was one of 4 from a St. Louis area high school to go to KU. Teachers, administrators, and students, to a lessor degree, shunned us. You are seen as a traitor. Who besides Ryan Robertson have we landed? How about football recruits? It's the culture. Hopefully, Mr. McLemore being away at Oak Hill will help.

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago

EastBayHawk,

Good point. Let's have the Hall's and Bob Hemenway "develop" some money to start a Mouth of Wakarusa Academy in Lawrence. It is a one year high school for great high school basketball players to attend to escape the undesirable pressures of their local communities, during the year in which they select the university they will attend. And, what the heck, let's give special preference to St. Louis area players. :-)

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago

"Tuesday in the Garden of Trifectation:"

~Teahan possibly being thrown a red shirt makes clear how important three point shooting is to Self. He doesn't want to go three-point naked into that good night next sesason. It also reveals none of the "athletic" perimeter players has a 40% trey gun for next season. Take the shirt, Conner. And start your freaking masters degree. I still think Teahan's got the sweetest stroke of all of them and could be a 20 minute man next season.

~Trifectation drives so much in the game now. Tyrel may start!

~What I like about Travis Releford is the succinctness about what he needs to get better at. He is allegedly 6'6" tall now. Self as much as says TRel has lockdown defender written in his jock strap. But TRel keeps talking about knocking down the open trey and playing with poise. He's modelling himself to be indispensable to Self, not to be a superstar; this is, paradoxically in his case, the surest path to super stardom. Talk about someone with an NBA body. Self is foreseeing him as a 5th year senior. He's planning on Releford graduating. He's calling him part of the long term nucleus each team will be built around. But TRel is taking all that in stride. The ticket to the L is issued for TRel at the trey stripe. Making shots. If he can learn to pot the triceratop at 40% by three seasons from now, he is a very, very, very high NBA draft choice. He is a BRush and XHenry high with a 40% trey. And, frankly, TRel is a better natural 2 guard for the NBA than X, or BRush, will ever be. He's got a bizarre combination of blazing speed, strength and defensive ability. With a trey gun, TRel will become a rich man. He's hungry. Despite his freshman wildness, he seems smart in a saavy kind of way. Maybe watching a sesason will do that for you. Chalmers transformed his trey by his last season into an NBA trey and got a ticket to ride. It can be done. Go, TRel, go!!! If you shoot 600 treys a day for three years, you will be a 40% trey gun. It can be done. Go for it. Plan to reach 38% this year on open uncontested stuff this season. Self will increase your 3FGAs next season. Get to 39%. Come back for 40% your final season and you are rich, rich, rich, rich, rich.

REHawk 11 years, 3 months ago

EastBay, good point re Ben Mc's spending a year away from St. Louis. Not only is he somewhat weened from that Mizzou mania, but he is adjusting to a temporary homesite further removed from St. Louis than is Columbia. Even if there is an NBA lockout next season, causing one and doners like Josh Selby to re-evaluate early departure, there will be a prime spot for Ben on the Jayhawk team, what with the loss of Tyrel, Brady, Mario. Just imagine the midsize speed which Bill Self could toss into a lineup!

Jack Wilson 11 years, 3 months ago

The lineup I would like to see for at least a five minute stretch:

EJ Selby (when eligible) Releford Marcus TRob

Freaking lightning ....

Theutus 11 years, 3 months ago

I agree, with a 50/50 blend of Little/Releford.

Little gives us a HUGE up-side on the boards... Even with a broken bone he was down banging with the bigs and pulling down huge boards...

He's a beast for his size, and i think he adds some much needed rebounding in that awesomely fast and athletic lineup.

REHawk 11 years, 3 months ago

Speaking of succinct, jaybate, you often hone right in on the heart of many matters at hand. No team can afford to enter a season without a 3 pt. threat to neutralize lockdown defenses. If Connor keeps working to resurrect his early promise as a deadeye outside shooter, he will definitely glean some valuable minutes. And your advice to Travis is most well advised. Is terrific to think that we might probably have him in the fold for this and 2 more seasons. Already, he is a seasoned veteran, a familiar face to the Jayhawk Nation. With his height and smooth extension, he will go down as a very memorable Jayhawk, once he masters and becomes confident in 3 pt. shooting. Early on, Bill Self projected Travis as a 1000 pt. scorer. Most of us have learned to listen closely and take to heart most every comment uttered by Coach Self. Listen up, Royce Woolridge. Your time will come, all too quickly. Consider very carefully the opportunity to spend every hour that you can as a Jayhawk hoopster. It was disheartening both for players and fans to view freshmen Russell Robinson and Elijah Johnson collecting dust near the end of the bench, a year of eligibility lost irretrievably.

100 11 years, 3 months ago

High Elite: Wow that's fast, can't wait to see it! (although I think for the first month we'll have slowball just so the kids can get full grasp of half court offense in game situations).

Jaybate: as always, interesting insight & some of this Coach Self himself doesn't even know! Truly the big man spot will end up being huge for this team. It would be so nice to have healthy Kief & Withey early on, but in the end (a week into April let's say), this could really benefit us. I have seen too many big men lose fire in March after a season full of getting banged up & being out of shape. Cole last year for instance. If Withey isnt ready until January, that could really boost his impact in March & April. I see Withey as a kid that might really surprise when we're not expecting it, like Cole did for us against UNC.

Also your point about TRobb, is right on. Man if we can develop him (or if he shows severe readiness to be mature & wisely ferocious already), wow, look out.

TRobb & Marcus as our only true big men can get us a long ways... Obviously we look forward to Kief & Withey, but with TRobb, a hidden gem the rest of the nation can't contain would make this team...

DY-

NO-

MITE!!!!!!

REHawk 11 years, 3 months ago

Even if Bill Self appears merely to be blowing a bit of preseason smoke in assessing the speed with which his team will play this season, there is every reason to believe that it will happen. To attempt to control and modulate almost any of his possible lineups, Coach would have to alter the very nature of the kids he has recruited. Fans needs must prepare for a high turnover ratio thru the first two months of this season. If this group of Jayhawks is allowed to play at anywhere near max velocity, we are bound to see lightning strike the courts, both in excitingly terrific and dismayingly hapless moments. And yes, we might have to readjust our thinking regarding win/loss columns for the six weeks prior to conference play, as the team strives to develop control to match its native speed. Also, if Bill Self allows for the fastest play of his KU tenure, we are likely to see more players than the normal 8 utilized for major minutes. New Horizons!!!!!!! Let's lace 'em up and get underway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KuKain 11 years, 3 months ago

Man, you not making the wait for the 7 o'clock tip off any easier. :)

92Jhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

I've got to admit, I'm really excited to see how fast this years 'hawks will play...like most of us, I've often been a bit miffed at the speed that Coach Self like to play...but I've learned to remind myself that he's forgotten more about basketball than any of us here know (or will ever learn). It's fun reading the thoughts of those here on who should be starting, who should be redshirting...who should be backing up whom but when I turn on the television tonight, I know that I'll be watching one of the best (if not THE best) coaches in the business do his job. Do any of us realize how lucky we are to have such group of talented players? We actually get to dream about not only which players should be starting but WHERE they should be playing...we get to debate who should be redshirting and who should be benched (we also know that regardless, we will be playing for championships again, per usual)....makes me excited and proud to be a Jayhawk...hey Jughead, do you in the berg of the little Crab-Apple have this problem? Our second 5 are a top 65 team! We make the tournament this year if five starters go down...that Jughead and all other trolls is what being a Jayhawk is like....

F_N_Genius 11 years, 3 months ago

One of my biggest fears this year is that EJ will not get the minutes a man of his talent derserves and he'll bail to another program. #24 rated player in last years class and hes setting pine. Good thing for us but not good for EJ. At some point in time, a man has to look out for himself.

steamboat 11 years, 3 months ago

Good point... In the perfect BB world every coach wants a solid 7-8 man rotation. However with the speed Self has and the style that Self wants to play this year could be so fast that he'll need 9 or10 guys in shape and ready to play.And then the minutes will even out for EJ. AHHHH things could be very good in Jayhawk Land.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 3 months ago

F_N_Genius: You're exactly right, at some point a "Man" does have to look out for himself and EJ hasn't been doing exactly that. Yeah athletical ability and talent will get you far at the High School level, but it doesn't automatically transition over to the college game.

Just because you have that god given ability doesn't mean you're "Entitled" to that position. EJ even said so himself in an interview with the LJW that he had things that he needed to work on.

At some point if the player wants something bad enough they are going to have to work for it. EJ has said in the past that he had become lazy defensively at times. The best thing IMO for EJ is what he is currently going through at KU and with Self. Until he himself makes the decison that he wants to be good enough and has the confidence that he is good enough he won't crack the starting lineup. If he puts the work in, which it sounds like he did over the summer, then his potential and possibilities are off the charts. It sounds like he is choosing the latter.

hawksfan08 11 years, 3 months ago

I'd be curious what everyone thinks of a comparison of EJ to Russell Westbrook. Westbrook was buried on a bench his freshman year because of collison shipp and afflalo but then came on to have a stellar sophomore season. He was actually a part of the UCLA team that beat KU in the elite eight. Freak athlete, good vision and handles with a poor shot that needs work. And think Westbrook wasn't even a top 150 recruit (for those of you constantly caught up in recruiting battles).

For that reason, I think either this year or next year EJ could have be absolute dynamite. He just needs the time. EJ loves KU and knows that Self has a plan for him. I'm sure he's not going anywhere.

100 11 years, 3 months ago

Plus the kid ripped off his warmup shirt in the middle of a bunch of Kentucky fans at the Derby classic to reveal.... A Jayhawk shirt.

Started flexing his muscles to the resounding boos....

Then he 360 dunked through his legs for the last play of the game to bring out louder boos (and confused applause from Calipari lovers who had just stolen Memphis's team).

That told me everything I needed to know about EJ:

  1. He has heart.
  2. He's a Jayhawk.
  3. He's a winner.

dynamitehawk 11 years, 3 months ago

Man... I hope we don't get caught looking forward to ESU.

Kevin John 11 years, 3 months ago

What happen to the justintv.com feed, does anyone know if the game will be on there?

Trey Hohman 11 years, 3 months ago

In a perfect situation, Releford becomes a Bruce Bowen-type of college/NBA player.
Bowen's college stats while at Cal State Fullerton were 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game....This seems about right in predicting Releford's offensive production by his senior year; but R. could eventually make it to the NBA by developing himself as a premier defensive backcourt player. A tough, physical defender who isn't afraid to get in someone's grill by guarding our opponent’s most dangerous offensive threat.
As for this season, I wouldn't be surprised to see Releford trading off with Morningstar c/o any of the tougher defensive assignments -- e.g. guarding KSU's Pullen in some sort of box-&-one defensive set.

ParisHawk 11 years, 3 months ago

So when does Jesse Newell start his gameday blog?

Beakem77 11 years, 3 months ago

PLEASE

Someone post a link to watch the game!

KULA 11 years, 3 months ago

Anyone got a coupon code for CBSSports ULive or ATT Jayhawk All-Access?

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