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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Releford confident in tweaked jump shot

Kansas guard Travis Releford pulls up for a jumper during warmups before tipoff against Iowa State, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford pulls up for a jumper during warmups before tipoff against Iowa State, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas University sophomore Travis Releford should have no trouble rolling out of bed for 6 a.m. basketball Boot Camp conditioning sessions later this month.

The 6-foot-5 guard/forward has been up before dawn daily since the start of the semester taking part in his own personal early-bird training program.

“I get up, work out at 6 and then shoot at, like, 7,” said Releford, who is intent on playing meaningful minutes in 2010-11 following a productive red-shirt season.

“I worked out during the afternoons, then went to the gym and shot after that all summer. Now that I’m in school, my schedule is getting up early in the morning and getting stuff done then.”

Releford’s goal all last season — into the summer and start of the school year — has been to “work on my upper-body strength and quickness and constantly work on my shooting.”

The 210-pounder — he averaged 2.7 points off 56.9 percent shooting in limited duty his freshman season — believes he’s significantly improved the range on his shot. As such, he expects to do more than slash to the bucket for driving layups this season.

“You are going to expect to see jump shots from me. I’ve done all the work on it (shot), so why not try to get out there and shoot it?” Releford said. “It’s a lot better. It’s improved a lot.”

He explained the problem with his shot and the solution.

“Some people have said I never really had a bad shot. I just wasn’t too confident in it. I wasn’t trying to shoot to make it,” Releford said. “I’ve changed a few things (technically) about my jump shot. Other than that, not too much, except I’m a lot more confident.”

The confidence started to come at practice last season.

“When I red-shirted, playing against the starting five, I’d be the opponent’s best shooter most of the time,” he said of his role on the Red team. “I have worked on and improved my jump shot. Coach has noticed that, and my teammates have noticed it.”

Junior guard Tyshawn Taylor says Releford’s range extends beyond the three-point line.

“He hits it consistently in pick-up and when we are in practice,” Taylor said of the three. “Even last year on the Red team, when we were practicing, he’d hit it. It (stroke) looks good. We have to see if he can hit it when it means something, when it matters.

“I tell him all the time, it’s different in the fieldhouse with 16,300 (fans) screaming. It’s a different kind of pressure, but he can handle that.”

Noted coach Bill Self: “When we recruited him, we said, ‘He’s pretty good. All he needs to do is work on his stroke.’ He has worked on his stroke. He’s a natural scorer. He is a high-level defender. He has a chance to challenge for a starting spot.”

If he earns a spot in the rotation, it’ll be easy to see why.

“The new Travis has put in a lot of work. He’s been in the weight room every morning and in the gym shooting and lifting by himself. I see improvement in Travis every single day,” Taylor said.

The soft-spoken Releford seems intent on earning his keep.

“I’m very motivated,” he said. “I mean ... sitting out my red-shirt year and improving, I just want to get out there and show the world that I can play, you know?”

There were some rumors he might be playing college basketball with his brother, Trevor, this season at Alabama. Truth is, Travis never seriously considered transferring in the search of guaranteed playing time.

“Growing up in Kansas City, I kind of had no choice,” the Roeland Park Bishop Miege graduate said, referring to being a die-hard KU fan all his life. “Since I’ve been here I’ve always been on one of the top teams in the country. I just stuck with it.”

He doesn’t see his upcoming battle for playing time as Releford vs. Mario Little or anybody else who plays on the perimeter.

“It’s just me vs. me,” he said with a smile. “I’m motivated. We’re all motivated. We lost some good players (off a 33-3 team), but we feel we’re going to work hard and have a great season.”

Notes: Wichita Heights junior forward Perry Ellis, who will make an unofficial visit to KU on Tuesday, has decided to attend Memphis’ season-opening Midnight Madness on an unofficial visit. His sister, Savannah, is a senior on the Tigers’ women’s team. ... Former KU center Sasha Kaun scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Russia’s 89-80 victory over China on Wednesday at the world championships. He hit six of 11 shots and four of six free throws while playing 26 minutes.

Comments

JayhawkRock 9 years, 5 months ago

Yeah Ellis' "visit" to Memphis is somewhat of a joke. Heard hes going because it's his sister's last go around and his family wants to be there for that.

Good to hear the Travis is working hard. Heard really good things about him all summer long. He and Mario will probably both start at times this season. Should be good competition and thats what makes players better.

Timmay97 9 years, 5 months ago

As far as Perry Ellis goes.......family 1st!!! The University of Kansas 2nd!!! It's all good!

Tony Bandle 9 years, 5 months ago

I may as guilty of this as anybody, but in the heat of recruiting and such, I have forgotten what the potential impact Travis Releford can have on the team this season.

I am afraid the "out of sight, out of mind" syndrome has kept me away from focusing on this young man:

1] Two years of Kansas experience [game and practice] with 3 more years of eligibility. 2] 210 lb frame on a stronger body. 3] A natural scoring stroke that has been groomed for long range. 4] A long, quick, shut down defender who can guard the perimeter. 5] Motivation to excell and be a starter. 6] No baggage and no negatives

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

Speaking of "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" EJ and Taylor have been very quiet this off-season. I think that is for the better.

Will be exciting to see Releford's polished game after a 1.5 year internship.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

Turd: EJ gets mentioned because after last season you would expect or one would expect that a player of EJ's capability would be gearing up for a breakthrough season. There hasn't been an article and hardly a mention of EJ during the offseason so it makes one wonder. Yes Selby has stolen a bunch of the spotlight, but you would think that EJ deserves some type of story in the same similar fashion that T Rob got a couple of weeks back.

Also, there have been some rumblings in the underground message boards (All Rumors! LET ME REPEAT ALL RUMORS) that EJ has not been in the good graces of the coaching staff. If that is indeed all true then it's probably good that EJ has been "Out of sight, Out of mind" during this offseason so he can swoop down and announce his presence once the season starts.

Finally, I was not lumping Taylor or EJ into the same category except that the only thing they have in common, from at least what we know, that there hasn't been much talk about either one in the offseason. IMO that is probably good for the old "Ego". Let them earn that attention and publicity by showcasing their talents on the court.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

Like I said, it was just a rumor, but you "Asking Around" is the same as anybody else knowing something or "Asking Around" as well. All I am saying is that it was out there once upon a time and whether or not it is true or false is left up to you or anyone as individual to decide.

I just find it odd that there hasn't been one mention of EJ during the summer offseason. Considering, he was a Top 25 recruit with gobs amount of talent. I mean, he was a 5 star recruit ranked #24 in the country right behind #23 ranked Eric Bledsoe. Who knows really, right?

cklarock 9 years, 5 months ago

Releford and Little are the players I'm most excited to see play this year -- I'm expecting big contributions from both of them. Glad to read that Travis has kept his nose to the grindstone . . . it will pay off.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

According to Zagsblog, KU still has "Hope" of landing Austin Rivers. The video is pretty unreal of Rivers crossing over John Wall this past weekend.

http://www.zagsblog.com/2010/09/02/austin-rivers-i-will-visit-kansas/

I know KU fans are excited about "Showtime Selby" and rightfully and deservedly so, but if Self and company somehow could land back to back #1 recruits in the class, especially Rivers, would simply be unreal.

Rivers IMO is the most polished and has the most skilled all around game of any recruit in the last 4 or 5 years. He's completely different than Rose, Wall, Evans, or any of those top notch players. He's a bigger, quicker, stronger, just as skilled version of Steph Curry with just as deep range.

With all that said, Tobacco Road unfortunately still leads for Rivers services, but I would love to see a change of pace and see him in the Crimson and Blue. How sweet would that be? Talk about being a surprise factor...............I would love for it to happen, but a little unlikely at the moment. Fingers crossed.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

Anythonyzal: Do you think this is the post where we kiss and make up (I'm waiving a white flag)? I remember that article as well by the LJW talking about Pierce getting in the ear of the elder Rivers.

I agree with you completely with Pierce carrying some weight in the Rivers family. I mean, Pierce only helped Rivers' Dad claim an NBA championship. In the end, I hope you're right about the youngest Rivers being an admirer of Pierce. Would love to see that kid in a Jayhawk uniform.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

"Do you believe in ......."? The answer is in the video. I'm sorry, this is such a terrible video.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 5 months ago

I'll give this truce an under of about 7 days. :}

Just kidding..but don't stop diagreeing. kushaw once in a while you come off as pompous and anthonyzal, once in a while, you come off mean-spirited, [Gee. I just described my first wife!!], but, for the most part, you both are great posters with a lot to say!!

cg1029 9 years, 5 months ago

Self typically plays about 7-8 guys for major minutes and right now if Selby is eligible you have to figure that your starting 5 consists of Selby & Taylor at the guards the 3 depends on how Self sees the team and could be anyone from: Morningstar, Reed, Morris, Releford or Little (You have to figure that Morningstar and Reed are at the front of the line unless Self wants to go big with Morris), 4-5 is a combination of TRob and the Morris twins with Withey as the wild card... EJ is your backup guard with the ability to play either the point or shooting guard depending on who is on the floor. So the question is where do Releford and Little fit into the mix? They were not good enough to beat out any of the current players for minutes last year, and the only new player we added who plays significant minutes is Selby who is a potential lottery pick.

If I had to guess between Releford and Little who has a better chance to play more this year... I would go with Little since he has the ability to play as an undersized 4.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 5 months ago

I respectively disagree.

If we have Tyrell playing the 3 then I think we may have a problem. Reed will be the first guard off the bench with EJ the second. I see the 3 as Mario first with Travis and Brady fighting for the back up position.

Marcus has gotta be low to hit the boards, take advantage of that mid-range jumper and generally help Markieff or TRob in close.

I do see what you're saying about going big with TRob and the Twins with Marcus at the 3. Throw in Josh and Tyshawn and that's a pretty good line up. With Reed, Morningstar, Little, Releford, Johnson and Withey off the bench..look out!!

Scott Smetana 9 years, 5 months ago

I've always enjoyed/respected your posts. I'm hoping you're right about Little. I always thought he looked lost on the court 2 years ago and had way too slow of feet to play big time D. Releford seems so much more confident and quicker. Guess we'll see.... I'm also sick of turnovers... I know Reed isn't the most powerful scorer, but you can count on him to play great D and make very smart decisions (ala RussRob)

tstanlick1909 9 years, 5 months ago

"They were not good enough to beat out any of the current players for minutes last year"

-- They were redshirting, so they were not competing for minutes. If they were, they would be nutting on Morningstar (all due respect)

hawk316 9 years, 5 months ago

As Coach Self pointed out, Travis is "a natural scorer." Some players just seem to have that knack, the uncanny ability to find different ways to score. Travis could do this even with a jumper that was not his best asset. Now that he has worked on his "j" so extensively, he could be a real force. And if he's as good defensively as Self suggests...well, you know how the Coach loves defense.

The word is that Mario, too, has made big strides in his game. Man, we are going to be so deep this year...again! I love it.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 5 months ago

I think Little is the most all around athlete on the team. I love his play...the only problem he had two years ago was foul trouble.

If he keeps up foul trouble, someone else will have a lot of playing time as well.

Mario will be incredible.

BigGuyDon 9 years, 5 months ago

I remember Releford's defense being pretty suspect his freshman year. If he's developed the ability to guard a 3, he could really be big for us.

With X and Sherron gone, the 3 is also going to be a problem. Selby is reportedly not a very consistent 3 pt threat and whoever we have at the three probably will be less accurate than X (at least if it's not Tyrel). Add Tyshawn (0-5 against UNI) and I see Reed and Morningstar getting unexpected minutes just to provide a threat from deep. I also wonder where Johnson fits in this mix.

DCLawHawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Great point BGD. Unlike previous rosters where several guards had the ability to can the three (e.g., Chalmers, Rush, and Collins), this year's squad may not have that as a strength. If so, then whomever can demonstrate proficiency behind the arc will earn more playing time.

If history is any guide, Reed and/or Morningstar will be in the mix for this reason alone. And it will take more than mediocre three-point shooting from someone else to knock them out of the picture. I just can't imagine HCBS emphasizing dribble drives to such an extent that three-point shooting doesn't contribute significantly to shaking out the rotation.

ParisHawk 9 years, 5 months ago

I agree with BigGuyDon: we need at least 3, including a 3, who can hit the 3.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 5 months ago

Three's company and the third is a charm but a four who can shoot the three will cause our opponents great harm!!

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

Paris Hawk: Would that be known as the triple trifecta threat?

Sam Constance 9 years, 5 months ago

This is definitely the good kind of problem to have. No matter who ends up being in our regular rotation, you can be assured that they are there because they earned it, and not because of a lack of competing talent (ahem, Mr. Moody...)

To this point, I have been bewildered by many Jayhawk fans' love affair with Releford, as all I remembered from his freshman year was a guy who was so smooth to watch on the fast break, but who couldn't hit a jumper, couldn't guard a lick of defense, and would look lost on half-court sets.

But, if his jumper has indeed improved to the point where he can hit it consistently in a game, and his defense has become great like Self says, he will certainly challenge for minutes. I would also expect his familiarity with Self's half-court offense to be much better after a redshirt year. Physically, he is the most ideal candidate to step in at the 3 position because he's longer and bigger than Little and more athletic than Morningstar. If his tools now fit the part as well, he could be a big factor for us this year.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

I agree with the assessment of Releford, but I think a lot of guys who get ranked in that 50-100 and even lower guys need some time to adjust to the "Speed" of the college game. It really is a big transition and step up from High School and Top Level AAU ball. We'll know soon enough in regards to Releford. I think he's not only going to be good, but real good.

Hank Cross 9 years, 5 months ago

With me, it wasn't so much love with Releford as it was an on-going puzzlement about why Brady was playing ahead of him. (And will Brady's defenders please spare me any talk about him being a "lock-down defender." For the past two Springs, people have been driving on Brady at will.) I didn't understand the point of continuing to play Brady when his skills had obviously reached the pinnacle, instead of developing Releford, whose true potential is still unknown.

justanotherfan 9 years, 5 months ago

KU basketball rotation predictions 10-11

The rotation changes significantly depending on whether or not Josh Selby is available. If he's available, he takes the lion's share of the minutes at the point. If not, the whole rotation changes. Furthermore, Self has shown that his preference is to play 8 guys, with the ninth guy being an inside player in case of foul trouble. Taking that into account, the rotations:

With Selby

Starters PG - Selby G - Taylor SF - Little PF - Mc. Morris C - Mk. Morris

Bench G - Releford G - Reed or Morningstar F - Withey 9 - Robinson

Here, with Selby playing the point, there's no need for a primary ballhandler in the rotation beyond Selby and Taylor, since one of those two will always be on the floor, similar to how last year's squad always had Collins or Taylor, and the ChampHawks had Robinson or Chalmers (remember that Sherron very rarely was on the floor without one of those two). Given that, Johnson doesn't fit in this rotation. It is almost a guarantee that both Little and Releford will see heavy minutes this season, so that means either Reed or Morningstar is squeezed out of the regular rotation unless Self expands to a 9 man regular rotation to include another guard.

Without Selby PG - Taylor G - Releford or Reed SF - Little PF - Mc. Morris C - Mk. Morris

Bench G - Johnson or Woolridge G - Reed, Releford or Morningstar C - Withey 9 - Robinson

Without Selby, Johnson and Woolridge get a look at the rotation. Since Taylor will lead the starting unit at the point, the reserves will look to the young guys. Once again, Reed and Morningstar would appear to be battling for that last spot in the rotation, since neither of them is a PG or a scoring G. The big thing here would be that ball handling would be at a premium without Selby, so the better ball handlers would garner more minutes, likely meaning that Thomas Robinson would see his opportunities dry up as the Morris twins can help the guards out if a team cranks up the pressure.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

Just another fan: Great post and you bring up a topic that many are left to ponder about through Jayhawk nation.................who is going to get the minutes? I have seen many different scenarios and I have my opinions as well, but let's take it a step further. Here are some questions that we as fans should be asking ourselves.

1) How is Bill Self going to divide the minutes?

2) How deep is Bill Self going to go into his rotation?

You pretty much covered that to a point in your post, but it's going to be hard to tell which direction Bill Self is going to go with his rotation. IMO you have players who are going to get "Guaranteed" minutes and those who fight for the "Role Player" minutes off the bench.

I think we can all agree that Morningstar and Reed will get "Role Player" minutes. The question with these two players is which one or both will get that opportunity? I love Morningstar and Reed and I would have both of them on my team any day of the week, but does Bill Self sacrifice one of them for the future of the program to let somebody like EJ or Releford step-in and get those minutes?

As for the "Guranteed" minutes, I think there are only 4 players who will be assured of this treatment.

1) Selby-Just hope he is elgible 2) Mc Morris 3) Kieff 4) Taylor

Role Player minutes will be one tough category for competition because not only do you have Guards fighting for that spot, but you have two big guys in this spot as well.

Guards:

1) Releford 2) EJ 3) Reed 4) Morningstar 5) Little)

Big Guys

1) T Rob 2) Withey

With all of this said, it is a known fact that Self likes to play a lot of guys during the season so he can get a feel for his team. Usually, once the middle of the season gets underway he usually tries to go 9 deep, but that is very very hard to do without messing up the "Flow" of the team.

During crunch time of the last 3 years during the NCAA tournament Bill Self has gone 8 deep with that 8th person getting important minutes, but very limited minutes. So, I guess the question we all have to ask ourselves...................

con't:

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

Who ultimately is going to get sacrificed in order for this 2010-2011 team to make a good run in the NCAA tournament? It's a hard question to ask, but with the depth of this roster it's unfortunately going to happen to someone.

We know, unless Selby does not get cleared, and barring any injury that the four guaranteed minutes will be Selby, Taylor, and Morris'.

IMO, that leaves 1 starter and 3 bench players to fill out the most important minutes of this team for an overall rotation of 8.

Great Post Justanotherfan!

AndOne 9 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone know when our enrollment deadline is?

From Gary Parrish: "Missouri's top recruit not enrolled" “Tony’s case with the NCAA Eligibility Center remains under review,” Anderson said. “However, with our fall enrollment deadline having passed, he will be unable to join our program at this time."

http://gary-parrish.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/6271764/24281259

Dustin Engelken 9 years, 5 months ago

I just saw this news this afternoon, as well. ESPN is now reporting the same.

My question is, at what point do we have to make a similar determination on Selby? I hadn't really worried about his eligibility issues until I read this today, but I am quite worried now. I do think we'll be a solid team with or without him, but I'd hate to see him ineligible.

kkoenig 9 years, 5 months ago

remember that ineligibility (for violation of amateur status) and missing of the enrollment deadline are two different things.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

For some reason Sept 14th is floating out there. I'm not sure if this is the exact deadline for first semester classes, but that seems to be benchmark at the moment from what I've seen and heard. I wouldn't be worried yet even though it's Thursday, but if it gets into middle of next week after the 4 day Holiday weekend than I'll be getting worried.

kkoenig 9 years, 5 months ago

for what it's worth, September 16th is the last day for late enrollment by petition.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 5 months ago

Looking back to last season, it seemed that defense was key and Self played Morningstar for that very reason. It seemed like Taylor ended up with some inconsistent play. Don't be surprised if Taylor doesn't end up with guaranteed minutes and additionally if EJ ends up with a redshirt or something.

There is a lot of depth and EJ proved last year that he needs some work.

I think Mario Little will have a tremendous year this year.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 5 months ago

Best quote from Releford's interview:

“Some people have said I never really had a bad shot. I just wasn’t too confident in it. I wasn’t trying to shoot to make it,” Releford said."

"...wasn't trying to shoot to make it.." ? Isn't that like an engineer saying "..I wasn't really trying to design that bridge to hold up, just wanted to bring it in on time.." Or, a surgeon saying "..I wasn't trying to save that patient, I just wanted to finish the operation.."

I'm sure Travis wishes he had not put it that way!

tstanlick1909 9 years, 5 months ago

My viewpoint is this -- If we have Selby, Taylor and EJ in at the same time, with any combination of forwards to fill the remaining spot, there is no stopping the dribble penetration. The defense would need to have THREE defenders capable of stopping their respective guard. No defense in the land could contain an attack such as that.

SCHNBALL 9 years, 5 months ago

kushaw- why is Taylor a given, my guess, if he has not changed anything, he will be pushed out, I thought that is exactly where we needed Releford last year. I said this last year and I will say it again this year, if we are counting on Morningstar at crunch time, it is not going to happen. And don't forget about the other Morningstar, I think we will hear his name again before the end of the ticket scandal. I am looking to see if we can get back to the pressure d of Russel Rob, Mario, Rush, we have the athletes, will we control tempo is the key.

Redlandsjhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

On a side note; Way to go Sasha!!! 16 and 14 great line!

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