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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Travis Releford makes most of playing time against Missouri

Kansas guard Travis Releford reacts after being whistled for a foul during the second half on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford reacts after being whistled for a foul during the second half on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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KU vs. Missouri

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Kansas defeated Missouri, 103-86, on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 103-86 victory over Missouri on Feb. 7, 2011.

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At the four-minute media timeout, Kansas University assistant coach Danny Manning looked down the bench and could see the frustration on Travis Releford’s face.

The KU sophomore hadn’t gotten in yet, and with teammate Mario Little playing so well, it didn’t appear likely that he would get much of an opportunity Monday night.

Manning made his way to Releford to say something: Just keep your head, Travis. You’re going to get your chance.

The coach’s words turned out to be prophetic.

Shortly after the timeout, Little picked up two fouls in 20 seconds, giving him three personals.

KU coach Bill Self sent in Releford with 2:07 left in the first half; it was the start of a 16-minute, 10-point performance from Releford in KU’s 103-86 victory over Missouri.

“Once I got in,” Releford said, “I just did what I had to do.”

The sophomore’s confidence soared after KU’s final possession of the first half, when he faked a three to get a defender in the air, took a few dribbles, then knocked down a 15-foot baseline shot just before the buzzer.

Overall, Releford went 4-for-5 from the floor and 2-for-2 from three-point range.

Coming into Monday’s game, the small forward had played just 13 combined minutes in eight conference games after spraining his ankle on Jan. 9 against Michigan.

“You guys saw it. He’s not healthy. He’s still gimping around a little bit,” Self said. “That ankle sprain’s been going on for a month now. But one thing about Travis, he’s confident.

“He was great. He made some big-time plays for us.”

Releford admitted after the game that he still isn’t 100 percent.

He explained that during the Michigan game, his ankle actually popped out of place, then snapped back into place by the time the trainers made it to him.

The ankle swelled up for a couple of weeks, limiting him so he couldn’t do much. Now, he’s rehabbing it, icing it and trying to get some motion back into it to regain his explosiveness.

“I’ll be fine before the season’s over with for sure,” Releford said. “It’s just day-by-day.”

Releford’s injury was most evident in pregame warmups, when he had to lay in a few alley-oops because his leaping ability wasn’t there.

He’s one of three Jayhawks — along with Tyrel Reed and Josh Selby — to have ankle or foot injuries.

“We had a joke about it: Every first of the month, they’re handing out boots to us,” Releford said with a laugh.

The bum ankle hasn’t kept him from shooting.

Releford said he’d been coming in early to get up more outside shots so he could be sure to make those attempts in a game.

“It’s very frustrating, coming off from the beginning of the year when I started out so well, then I went down with the injury,” Releford said. “I’m just trying to do whatever to help my team play better.”

Interactive Timeline

2010-11 KU men's basketball timeline

Comments

Scott MacWilliams 3 years, 8 months ago

I didn't get to tune in until 14 minutes left in the game, but when I saw Travis, I didn't notice him limping. He looked Great! Hey Travis, just keeping resting that ankle and doing the rehab work 'cause we're going to need all hands on deck for the March run. Way to kick some misery butt! Rock Chalk!

Tony Bandle 3 years, 8 months ago

Insomniac Ideas:

Travis: WOW...popped out of place then popped back in!!!!???? That's just a tad bit more serious than an ankle sprain. An injury of that magnitude could have put him out for the season. I'm no Doctor but my guess his ankle will be 100% by about August, however, he has shown what we were all hoping for in that the red shirt year really helped his growth and developement. Mario: It's taken almost two and a half seasons, but now we're getting the National Player of the Year we expected. Three point shooting would be a HUGE bonus down the stretch. Playing hurt one season, sitting out another season, biding his time till his opportunity came...what a great Jayhawk Mario has turned out to be!! Brady: Also, the real Brady returns after a season and a half of his evil twin. Maximizing his talents and compensating for his deficiencies, he has become a floor leader. Too bad jayhawkinnebr got kicked off the site....would have loved to hear him try to crank on Brady now!! TRob: Believe it or not, I think this young man, and I do mean MAN, has become the heart and soul of this team. What he has faced, what he is dealing with, how he totally brings himself into every play of every minute of every game has set a tone for the rest of the squad. He alone is worth five UK one and dones!!! The Morri: Supremely gifted and talented, yet need to focus on the game not the gamemanship. Don't become the foul focus of the ref crews. Still, we are where we are, #2 in America, largely because of them. Josh: If you are indeed leaving after this season, go out guns blazing, not with a whimper like our previous OAD. Enjoy the last part of this season to the fullest. You may find that maybe you'll want to stick around a little longer. Coach Self: It looks like you've found your nine man rotation just in time. My only suggestion.....let 'er rip!!!!!! Guards: Tyshawn, Travis, Josh [emergency back-up, Elijah] Bigs: Marcus, Markieff, TRob [emergency back-up, Jeff] Swings: Brady, Travis, Mario {emergency back--up, Royce???]

Alohahawk 3 years, 8 months ago

+1 Except you left out Tyrel. Maybe you meant Reed instead of Travis in the guards position.

Not quite an insomniac. It's only 12:26 AM in Hawaii.

NebraskaJayhawk 3 years, 8 months ago

Tyrel Reed....please don't forget about him. :) He was somewhat absent in this game, but very important to this team.

addlime 3 years, 8 months ago

Reed had the best defensive possession of anyone last night. Only one that stayed in front of a MU guard and completely altered the shot. Loved it! Kid has heart.

Tony Bandle 3 years, 8 months ago

Gimme a break...it was almost 4:00 am..of course I meant Tyrel :)

BewareOfThePhogOnTheWater 3 years, 8 months ago

You are absolutely correct on The Morri. The cheap shots have to stop. It is putting the Program in a bad light. Besides that, it doesn't do anything except get their butts on the bench or out of the game. Stop with the crap, Morri. Win the game with your talent and skills.

Tony Bandle 3 years, 8 months ago

PS we were two buckets and a foul shot away from having "EIGHT" guys in double figures!!!!!!!!

KU79 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm really proud of Travis, if a fan can say that. He's worked his tail off and is really contributing. He'll continue to play a more important role in the years to come, and it's been fun to watch his improved play. We've got a phenomenal coaching staff, and a very well coached team, and it's evident in how Travis is coming along.

NebraskaJayhawk 3 years, 8 months ago

I was so impressed by Releford's play last night. I think he is going to be key for this team down the stretch.

This ankle injury is a bit concerning. I don't know much about the medical field, but once something pops out of place, is it not likely for this to possibly be a reacurring injury? I certainly hope not. Really enjoy watching you play Travis......get that ankle healthy.

oldalum 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm no specialist either, Nebraska, but I always believed that the reason that kind of injury repeats is that the tendons were permanently stretched the first time it happened. With the joint not firmly anchored it is more likely to happen again. Maybe with Releford, since it put itself back in place, the tendons stretched but snapped back without permanent damage. That would be terribly painful, but with any luck just a one-time thing. Pure guess on my part, but makes sense to me.

MDHawk 3 years, 8 months ago

If it became dislocated, there's almost nil chance he avoided a moderate to severe ligament sprain around the joint. You're absolutely right that once it has happened, it is likely to happen again...in fact, will likely happen multiple times over the course of his career. With such a sprain, the joint can become quite unstable. However, most of these kids are so darn tall/long that chances are they've had minor sprains on several occasions before, especially with as many games as they played as prep players in high school. To that end, recovery times become shorter and shorter with subsequent sprains (depending on severity). A similar situation probably exists with Elijah's shoulder...although it keeps popping out/in, he's able to continue to function, whereas the absolute first time he did it (probably when he was younger) he probably had a longer recovery time. The joint just becomes more "lax", but once you've stretched the ligament, it remains more or less stretched. You can, however, strengthen/tighten the muscles whose tendons cross the joint, which will add some stability.

I'm guessing it was one of the worst sprains he has had, but just the fact that he can play on it now is a good sign. Not to mention he has trainers working on it every day, which surely helps quite a bit.

SaulGood 3 years, 8 months ago

Awesome performance from Releford. Once he gets his wheels back, I know we can all count on seeing some great defensive performances as well. I said it earlier this month, and I'll say it again - Travis Releford makes everybody else's job easier. No doubt he truly is Bill Self's utility man. With his wingspan, he's nearly impossible to dribble around, but combine that with the quickness of healthy feet and he's a defensive terror. His D against Moo last night was nothing spectacular per se, but he only had one flub resulting in a foul. Hitting shots in a clutch, steady on defense, great shooting touch, and good enthusiasm on the floor - I expect it will only get better from here for Travis.

Kevin Huffman 3 years, 8 months ago

I knew we had this in Releford and Little. My worry is that Withey & ESPECIALLY E. Johnson aren't getting enough opportunities. I'm less worried about Woolridge because he IS just a freshman...expect more out of him in the next year or two. E.Johnson DESERVES more opportunities though ESPECIALLY with Selby out.....With Selby out I only trust Taylor bringing the ball up the court and he had some turnover problems early. If there's one strength to Johnson's game in the few minutes he has had this year it's been a low turnover rate.....get his BUTT IN THERE at times like that!!!

jayhawktalk 3 years, 8 months ago

Brady actually looked pretty comfortable at the PG spot last night when he ran it.

Kurt Eskilson 3 years, 8 months ago

Nobody "deserves" more opportunities unless they actually make something of the opportunities they get – like Travis did. EJ's butt was in there … but his brain wasn't. Two turnovers in four minutes put him back on the bench. And with everyone else playing so well, no point in putting EJ back out there. Maybe next time he'll prove he "deserves" more time on the court.

Kevin Huffman 3 years, 8 months ago

The way things have gone I don't think that Taylor or Selby will be able to leave early. Markieff has risen his game enough that both him AND Marcus should be able to declare after their junior seasons and it would stun me if they didn't.......then they also lose seniors Little, Reed & Morningstar. I don't recall who they have coming in next season that'll have an impact except for Tharpe. So far for next year looking most likely at:

Starters - Ty. Taylor, Selby, Releford, Tho. Robinson, Withey Bench - Tharpe, E.Johnson, Woolridge.....and need a post player or even more preferrably two......I want to say that we got one, but maybe not....I know we got that one bulky kid from Texas for '12/'13, but next season?

KU_FanSince75 3 years, 8 months ago

I was so happy for Travis and Mario. BTW, nice picture above of Travis, Nick.

slowplay 3 years, 8 months ago

Selby staying is a hard call. It's going to depend on how well he plays during the tournament run. Right now, I don't see it, but "potential" is key word in the NBA and he was rated high coming out of high school.

Tim Bingaman 3 years, 8 months ago

Travis was the man! Amazing clutch performace off of the bench!!!!

Greg Lux 3 years, 8 months ago

OK coach .. now you have the problem you talked about. With Mario and Travis playing so well with Brady, Tyrel , Josh and TT what are you going to do ... I know you don't want to play 6 in tight games but what are you going to do .... you have six guy who deserve playing time. Damn I hate having toooooooooooooo much talent...( joke ). And I didn't mention EJ ( because he is not playing consistently well ). My guess is TT is going to get some time off and Josh is going to play some point guard. TT has been the most inconsistent of all the guards lately ( OK all year ). He need to understand that his sloppy play just won't cut it and maybe some time sitting with the coaches during the game will help. ( Just my guess )

Rock Chalk

Jack Wilson 3 years, 8 months ago

Your "guess" on TT is based on what you have seen on the court. Makes sense. However, don't hold your breath. Coach Self gives this guy more rope than any other player.

oldalum 3 years, 8 months ago

Taylor does a good job distributing, but I close my eyes every time he heads for the basket. I'm hoping (praying, begging) that this is a temporary thing and his shot will come back.

Hank Cross 3 years, 8 months ago

The extent of that injury explains a lot. No wonder he has been so slow to return. It makes me wonder about the true exent of Selby's injury. It has been posted that sometimes those injuries take 3 weeks to heal.

Jack Wilson 3 years, 8 months ago

oldalum: With all due respect, I do not know what game you are watching. Taylor is a poor distributor of the basketball. He has the ball in his hands everytime he is on the floor. Look at last night .. a guy that would take 14 shots from point guard spot 2 for 12 until two late garbage baskets. More importantly, he only had 4 assists in a 100 point game .. this is a guy that is not focused on making his teammates better. A review of his seven failed drives to the hoop last night will show a guy that was not looking to dish or create, but a guy that was trying to score. And he is just not a scorer. His best game was the UCLA game from a scoring standpoint, when we needed it. But those sorts of games are few, few and far between.

A great contrast is to Brady. The guy had 7 assists last night. One where he drove to the middle of the lane and dished. Despite a lack of raw speed and physical gifts, he is clearly focused on trying to make his teammates better. Rarely, if ever, see TT do that. A review of game video will show a guy that dribbles focusing on his path and the basket, and does not have the ability to angle to the hoop, instead opting for a floater or one where he angles away from the basket. And he does not look to dish. Think hard about the last time you saw TT drive in the lane and dump to Kieff or Marcus? Again, contrast to Chalmers, Robinson, Collins ... multiple lob-dunk opportunities. Creating. What we have also seen from TT in other games is the propensity to commit the charge.

And in the Nebraska game .. he got an assist on a 3-1 break where he was in the middle, passed to the left, but then collapsed far too into the lane, right near the bucket .. a mistake a high school player would get popped on the bench for. It worked out when the ball came back to him and he handed it to Marcus for the dunk to his right. But that was a basic mistake.

I am constantly reminded of TT's comments in the 09-10 season when he had a nice scoring game early in the year .. he stated "I finally got mine." He's playing like he wants his, as opposed to team basketball.

SaulGood 3 years, 8 months ago

@your first paragraph - not to mention a ton of terrifying, lazy one-handed scoop passes to start the offense at the top of the key. Opposing defenders have not reason NOT to take the gamble for the steal when you're telegraphing a half-a$$ one-handed pass.

Hank Cross 3 years, 8 months ago

I never thought I'd be saying this, but Brady is looking like a better option at PG than TT provided: 1. Selby returns and is able to assume the role of backcourt slasher, and 2. Brady keeps playing like the last few games rather than the past year and a half. TT has all the tools, but keeps on making careless mistakes and 4 assists while taking 14 shots in a 100 point game is not what you want out of your PG.

FreddyinLA 3 years, 8 months ago

Rele was our best player going into the Iowa St game. The only reason he even got into the game last night was because Mario made an ill-advised foul to pick up his third. A good coach would have taken Mario out after the second foul and put Rele in. What does this kid have to do to get PT? He’s our best off and on ball defender. Can hit the 3 and also has a mid-range game. Doesn’t make bonehead plays. Can play a big or perimeter position.

I would give Rele a try at point. He has to have better ball handling skills then our current option and would be a match up nightmare for opposing coaches. Rele’s game reminds me of D. Williams of the Jazz. Can’t our coach see this? I mean he did have Williams at Illinois.

SaulGood 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm a huge proponent of Releford; I love his versatility and I can appreciate sharing that with you.

1) What he has to do to get PT is heal his *&%^ foot. No one wants to lose him with a worse injury. 2) He is a better secondary passer than a primary passer. Sorry, wholeheartedly disagree that he should be at point. As you said, he doesn't make bonehead plays, and that's what we need from him when opponents start to try to junk up our offensive sets mid-possession.

On that same point, he is just not nearly explosive enough speed-wise to consistently mount a fast offense trip...after trip...after trip. As stated, I agree with you about his multifarious talents, but PG would be a humongoloid mistake by my estimation.

FreddyinLA 3 years, 8 months ago

Rele will be a point in the Association (think Westbrook for OKC), TT will not.

gchawk 3 years, 8 months ago

"A good coach would have taken Mario out...............". So you're saying that Coach Self isn't a good coach? We do have the luxury of more depth than any other men's team in the NCAA, so we can leave some players in a little longer after their 2nd foul, but not their 3rd when it comes early in the game. Also, Mario picked up his 3rd about 30 seconds after his 2nd foul, bad for him but good for Travis. I was very proud of Travis last night, he played his heart out, as did most of our team.

Kurt Eskilson 3 years, 8 months ago

Where've you been, Freddy? Travis was seriously injured "going into the Iowa State game." Still is injured. A "good coach" knows that and has been limiting his time to get him well so he can truly play up to his abilities later in the season when we'll really need him. What does Travis have to do to get PT? He needs to finish healing! Hopefully, last night's outstanding performance indicates he's healed well enough not to risk re-injury.

kerbyd 3 years, 8 months ago

Great pic. A lot better than the one of Selby's sinuses.

wrwlumpy 3 years, 8 months ago

Jason Kings Q and A blog today at Rivals.com: [Comment From RyanRyan: ] What should we take away from the KU win last night?

Tuesday February 8, 2011 12:28 Ryan 12:28 JasonKing: That KU is deeper than any team in America and that Morningstar needs to be playing more minutes than Selby (maybe 25 minutes per game to Selby's 15).

Kye Clark 3 years, 8 months ago

HighEliteMajor - First of all since this is the Travis Releford thread I'll use this space to say that last night I finally saw a little bit of what you have seen, on the offensive end anyway (defensively no one stood out). Still would like to see him be a little more aggressive driving the ball, but perhaps that is a byproduct of not being 100% on that ankle yet. I'm sold on him as a viable shooter, both from long and mid range. I'm curious to see what our team will look like with all the pieces available and healthy (assuming that situation ever happens), but hopefully he can continue to get about 15 min/game.

Also completely agree on Tyshawn. It's too bad because he does have the ability to drive into the paint which is something I think this offense needs, but he can't finish and rarely looks to make plays for others. Imagine how many points KU could have scored last night if he hadn't taken 14 shots but rather used his abilities to create opportunities for his teammates. I don't know what is more discouraging, him jacking up those 14 shots, or the fact that he played 35 minutes (second to only Brady's 38). I think that is where the minutes for these other players - Travis, Little, Selby when he's healthy - need to come from first, cutting into Tyshawn's minutes. I know they don't play the point, but it can be a ripple effect of sliding someone else to the point to open up minutes at the 2, and then the 3. And while the last two games have been the most impressive offensive performances of the year, I am convinced that in order for this team to realize it's potential we need to develop Selby at the point and have him on the ball for at least a few long stretches during games.

hawkone 3 years, 8 months ago

Brandon G, I thought I asked you if you could please get some work done today instead of reading message boards? Thanks, Your sub-conscious self

gchawk 3 years, 8 months ago

Actually your message could have been sent to me as well. Thanks for making me smile, and feel guilty!

jayhawksbiggestfan 3 years, 8 months ago

Another great beat down on The pussys from Missou. Like always my reminder to keep our player in the lead on the voting. Vote | Lowe's Senior CLASS Award www.seniorclassaward.com The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award is presented each year to the outstanding senior NCAA Division I Student-Athlete of the Year across nine different sports. The acronym “CLASS” stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. Vote once a day everyday for hometown KU jayhawk Tyrel Reed.

Alohahawk 3 years, 8 months ago

Thanks to these daily reminders, I've been voting every day.. Just got back from the dentist and might have forgotten otherwise. Aloha & Mahalo.

Jack Wilson 3 years, 8 months ago

Ralster: I would say that my opinion on TT is not a knee jerk reaction. I have been entirely consistent on my observations and perspective, save my unfortunate "bite" on his early season play this season.

The game last night can be forgotten. But all of the same points made without that game.

I love Tyshawn's effort and hustle. That is not the point, and is not questioned. He busts his butt and I think he plays excellent defense, but for just a few lapses here and there.

My sole knock on Tyshawn is his lack of recognition as to what he is, and to how he can best help this team. Again, this is the only knock on him in my book. He fails to be a "look to create, pass first point guard. That's it.

Last season, I felt that possibly he just wasn't capable of it. I felt, possibly, that he just didn't have the skill set. Then, we saw his play in the first 8-9 games. That demonstrated that it was a "want-to" issue. He could do it. He was the point guard I had hoped he would be. Then, his decreased play level, either by coincidence or not, came at the exact time that Selby entered the lineup. My theory last season was that his poor play centered on wanting to "be the man" ... forcing things, trying to score. One of his statements supported that. When Selby hit the court there is the argument to be made that TT felt threatened. I have no idea. Coincidence. But it was the same thing as we saw last season and has been, generally, since.

As we all know, 22-1 or whatever, can mask flaws that are exposed in March. We've lived it. That's why we're so passionate about our team. I (we) fear the same fate as last March, or of prior tournaments. The discussion on TT is not to "crucify" him. It is an observation of what I see to be a major flaw come March. We have other issues, as does every other team. No team is perfect.

But the poor point guard play .. or more precisely .. the lack of true point guard play acts to limit the diversity of our offensive attack. We can simply smile and say we hung 100+ on Missouri. Impressive win. I agree.

As an example. look at North Carolina. Their problems aren't solved. They are not a top team. They aren't the team we are. But look how they improved when they inserted a true point guard in the lineup ... Kendall Marshall. The guy had 16 assists the other night. Now, I know TT isn't that. Not expecting that.

All I'm suggesting is that simply because we are winning, doesn't mean we can't improve. And that the most obvious way that we can improve is if TT simply would change his focus from looking to score, to instead, looking to create. That's it. Drive to the bucket with the first focus to draw the defender and dish .. it would truly take this team to the next level.

His failed drives to the hoop last night were the best example of his big picture problem.

Jack Wilson 3 years, 8 months ago

ralster/drgnslayr: Excellent points and info.

I would also be interested in how we scout a tournament opponent, how they decide upon and implement a gameplan. In the tourney, the second game of the weekend is usually the more dangerous one for the better seed due to less prep time. 3 teams to breakdown tape on each week of the tourney; second game very little time to put it in the team's collective head. It would be cool to see an article on a week of prep during the season .. how we get ready for an opponent, etc.

I agree that it would take a something monumental for Self to make a major shift at this point. The only plausible change I could see is moving Selby to the 1, with TT to the 2 when they're both in the game, with TT going to the 1 when Selby is out. Regardless of my thoughts, or anyone else's, coach Self believes TT at the 1 gives this team the best chance to win.

Right now, the odd guy out of rotation is likely EJ once Selby comes back. But the season is like a lifetime. Two weeks ago is forgotten. Who knows, he may make the most of his next opportunity and change everything. But it is just great to see Releford and Little step it up. And in the final analysis, having two 6-6 or so guys that can fill it .. more options in a tight game when others are struggling .. who can deliver us from the jaws of the UNIs of the world, makes us stronger than last season. The more options, the better.

And we are better than last season. Different, but better. We'll be even better by March. Little and Releford as real options give us the chance to be substantially better. True 3s whenever necessary. Options, baby.

Let's all cross our fingers that TT's play not only improves, but changes just a bit. The guy has it in him. We've seen it. He does so many things well. And as I've mentioned before, TT does have a path to the NBA ... and it is lined with assists. Our path to the NC may be lined with the same thing.

Rock Chalk.

REHawk 3 years, 8 months ago

Guys, parse and analyze until the cows come home, but at the 13:50 mark of that second half, when he had just shot 2 for 12 and posted about as many assists as a typical power forward, I was inclined to trade TT's taller stature and 3rd year of Div. I experience for that little upstart rookie point guard who wore #1 for the Tigers. I'll take the fall as a Tyshawn basher if you would like. I see tremendous potential to his game, but have spilled too much beer while shaking and cursing futilely when he races into the paint.

jayhawktalk 3 years, 8 months ago

HEM, Slayr and Ralster,

This has to be one of the more thoughtful and interesting conversations I have seen on these boards. Thank you for the great read.

Have to +1 @ Ralster and his mention of the need to support the guys and be careful not to... Think the word was "undercut". Critique individual play constructively, rather than only a focus on the negative. A good goal that I am going to strive to achieve in my own posts.

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