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Friday, March 18, 2011

KU’s Travis Releford ready to play in NCAA Tournament if needed

After a red-shirt season last year, Kansas forward Travis Releford is ready to play a role in this year's NCAA Tournament.

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— After watching Boston University guard John Holland during a team film session earlier this week, one of the Kansas assistant coaches approached sophomore Travis Releford and told him to be prepared.

Though Releford has played just two combined minutes in KU’s last five games, he knows he could be needed as soon as today’s 5:50 p.m. game against BU.

“I think there’s a good possibility I could get called,” Releford said. “And matchup-wise, our size ... it’d be a great matchup.”

One only needs to look at the roster to see why.

Holland, the America East player of the year, is 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds.

Releford’s measurables are identical.

Though KU guard Brady Morningstar will start out defensively on Holland — who’s averaging 19.2 points per game this year — history has shown that KU coach Bill Self won’t hesitate to play his best defenders off the bench in NCAA Tournament games if needed.

Two years ago, in KU’s first-round contest against North Dakota State, Self summoned seldom-used guard Tyrone Appleton to help defend guard Ben Woodside.

Appleton played six minutes in that game after not playing in the Jayhawks’ previous three games.

“I feel like I’m ready for this tournament,” Releford said. “I’ve never really got a chance to play in a really big tournament game. I think this is the year I could be (playing).”

Releford has participated in the NCAA Tournament, but just barely. He played one minute his freshman year at the end of KU’s 60-43 victory over Dayton in the second round.

Last year, he sat out the season after red-shirting.

Releford played double-digit minutes in six straight non-conference games this season before suffering a left-ankle injury against Michigan on Jan. 9. The setback caused his minutes to fluctuate.

Releford said he’s close to 100 percent now, only noticing the injury when making sharp cuts.

“I don’t have any pain on it any more,” Releford said, “and I’m getting back to my explosiveness and my quickness.”

KU guard Tyrel Reed said that one thing that has stayed consistent through the season is Releford’s attitude.

In practice, Releford has been splitting time with the blue team (KU’s main players in the rotation) and the red team (KU’s scout team).

“When he’s on the red team, you’d never sense anything was wrong with him,” Reed said. “Some guys, when they get put on red, they may mope or be sad. He just takes it as another way he can get better.”

Releford knows his name could be called at any point.

“I’m ready,” Releford said. “I’m going to make sure of that.”

Comments

Alohahawk 8 years, 3 months ago

Good luck, Travis. Stay positive. Your time is coming. Look how it's worked out for Tyrel, having bided his time during his first few years,

KU79 8 years, 3 months ago

Self does such a great job with his players. As freshmen you wonder if they'll ever contribute, and then you just watch them get better and better. Travis will play a major role in our program, it's just a matter of time. Good attitude . . . great kid.

mojayhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

Travis, Your great team attitude on the sideline is outstanding. We notice every game that you support the team's every move and root 'em on. Great job keeping your head and we'll look forward to seeing you on the court!

Dyrk Dugan 8 years, 3 months ago

it's been a tough year for Travis....just one of those years. he got going, was a regular contributor and was set to be a regular...and then he got hurt. I believe Travis will do some good things for us in this tourney....he just has to be ready. and i believe he will. Go Jayhawks!

jcepp 8 years, 3 months ago

Hoping he gets big minutes in a blowout.

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

If Travis is well, you can't keep him off the floor. Over six games, he will find a crack and impact.

And Releford is going to be a great player next season.

He's going to super nova.

Ad astra per aspera.

REHawk 8 years, 3 months ago

Once again, I am drawn back to the inspirational play of Cole Aldrich vs. Tyler Hansbrough in '08. Do your homework, Travis, and remain ever ready!

Hank Cross 8 years, 3 months ago

You're right. Sending in Travis as designated stopper against a big, athletic 3 could be his role.

Wayne Gordon 8 years, 3 months ago

JHawks need Travis's enthusiasm in 1st game!

TopCityHawk 8 years, 3 months ago

Relaford is showing his true colors. Proud he is a Jayhawk! His time to shine will come, sooner or later. Time will tell.

KU_FanSince75 8 years, 3 months ago

Lock down defense, Hawks! We know you can score.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 3 months ago

Told to be ready? I would have thought there was no need to verbalize that. NCAA..EVERYONE in uniform better be ready. One twisted ankle or one needless elbow and you might find yourself on the floor with the outcome of the game still in doubt. Even the 'Boy Scouts' know 'To Be Prepared'! Ok..stupid rambling on my part..10 min to game time. My brackets are completely shot already. They are at ESPN and CBS w/jhawk7782 as my ID. BIG surprise! Really wished I had filled them out here at LWJ with other Jayhawk superfans. 6 min. Go Hawks!!!

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