Saturday, March 19, 2011


Jitters obvious, but Tyrel Reed immune

Tyrel Reed said being a senior helps keep him loose now that every game counts after defeating Boston University in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.



KU vs. Boston University

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Kansas defeated Boston University in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 18, 2011 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 72-53 victory over Boston on March 18, 2011.

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— Afterward, theories abounded as to why Kansas University opened its NCAA Tournament Friday night in the BOK Center looking Don Knotts-nervous in the first half.

One that seemed to have a little credence was that all the emphasis placed on the Northern Iowa loss of a year ago, with a story and pictures from Sports Illustrated about it taped to the players’ lockers, backfired.

It was a harmless backfire because Kansas won the game, 72-53, but it makes coach Bill Self’s ambivalence when approached by one of his assistant’s about the SI motivational ploy understandable. Last week, Self spoke to the risk in doing so because if that hand is overplayed, it introduces too much negativity into the equation.

Fear of losing always motivates well, but re-living a loss too often can make the air stale, even smelly. Everybody knows that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. What’s less studied is that those who obsess on history can be at greater risk to repeat it.

That’s why sports psychologists who work with golfers stress to them to never say to themselves, “Don’t hit it in the woods,” because the brain doesn’t process the negative and hears, “Hit it in the woods.” Similarly, “Don’t let yourself succumb to an early exit via upset again,” could have led to a defensive approach, creating a cloud of impending disaster. The longer Boston University stuck around in the first half, the more the Northern Iowa game befouled the air.

“I didn’t tell coach this, but I took it down out of my locker, because I really didn’t want to read it because it was just things that we’ve been reminded of that for so long, watching ESPN highlights,” Marcus Morris said of the SI spread. “It’s on every day. We were just out there watching at the top of the screen and seeing it again. I’m just tired of seeing it.”

That loss denied Kansas a trip to the Sweet 16, but as far as national perception, it was treated more like a first-round loss because the name of the opponent, Northern Iowa, wasn’t nearly as impressive as the team itself. Upsets make the masses tune in, so they tend to be rehashed when the next tourney arrives.

Kansas has gone 66-5 the past two years. Nationally, one of those five losses has been discussed more than the other 70 games combined. Enough already.

“We know what we need to do,” Marcus Morris said. “We know what we need to do to stop that from happening, and we’ve just got to move on.”

The next opponent, Illinois, has too big a name on its orange jerseys for the slipper to fit, so it’s never a problem for the foes’ keyed-up juices to flow from the opening tip, particularly as good as the Illini looked in destroying UNLV in the game after KU’s.

Adrenaline can’t be faked. It’s either there or it isn’t, and for every Kansas opponent, every game from November through April, it’s there.

The emotional edge generally lies with the underdog, as it did Friday. And then there are athletes who don’t experience emotional swings and play with machine-like precision every possession. Guys like Tyrel Reed.

In the first half of shaky nerves leading to KU’s inability to shake the quick Terriers, Reed looked quicker than teammates who usually look quicker than him. He played taller than guys who usually play taller than him.

“He’s been here a million times. It’s nothing new to him,” sophomore post player Thomas Robinson said. “For me, it was my first tournament game that I played (early in a game. He played seven minutes against Lehigh). For the twins, it’s their first year of being the leaders on this team. But Tyrel, he’s been here multiple years, so none of this is new to him.”

Strictly first-game jitters? Will they be gone Sunday?

“They were gone after the first half,” Robinson said.

Good point. Kansas won the second half, 39-24.

But for Reed, who scored all eight of his points in the first, Kansas might have found itself trailing at the half, instead of leading by four.

He was better than his line in the box score, and that line best could be summed up in one word: efficient. In 29 minutes, Reed totaled eight points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal and did not have a single turnover. He made three of four shots and two of three three-pointers. He did not attempt a shot in the second half.

“I just have the mind-set that this is the last go-around. There’s no reason to have any jitters,” Reed said. “Just play basketball, the game that I love. And I love being here.”

Reed has seen too many underdogs fly out of the locker room riding a high created by the word Kansas, playing out of their minds, making shots they don’t usually make, to let it freak him out when it sees it happen again.

“At the beginning of every game, coach puts some stuff on the board, and he always puts, ‘Long game,’ and it is a long game,” Reed said. “You’ve just got to keep playing.”

Reed wants to play five more games more than he’s ever wanted anything, and he knows the way to get there is to trust the process, enjoy the journey and let the result take care of itself.

His teammates received a lesson lasting 20 minutes on the game clock in the value of that approach.


Ron Franklin 10 years, 1 month ago

Exactly, Keegan. You said it yourself.

Enough already.

Forget about that game.

Enough already means no more articles about UNI=One. A single occurrence.

Leave it.

riverdrifter 10 years, 1 month ago

Good column. Reed is the one to show the way. He has sack. The Jayhawks can perhaps play one more timid game and win in the big dance. Anything less after that and they'll be down on their prayer bones again pulling their jerseys over their heads in defeat. Stand or fall.

actorman 10 years, 1 month ago

Not that I want to see them risk it, but I'm not sure you're right, riverdrifter. I actually think the Illinois game could end up being tougher than the next one, given that they'd be playing either Morehead State or Richmond. Of course let's hope the 'Hawks themselves don't think that way or they could be in trouble.

ParisHawk 10 years, 1 month ago

If you look at Ken Pomeroy's ratings of all Div 1 teams, Illinois is 16th just ahead of Florida, which is a 2 seed! Illinois is by far the toughest 8/9 seed in the tournament.

On the other hand, Richmond is 43d and Morehead State 86th, by far the lowest of the remaining teams.

Illinois is our last game - until we beat them.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Illinois can be the best 8/9 seed in the tournament, when they play like they are capable of playing. They also have a tendency to stink like the agricultural school that happens to be next to Assembly Hall in Champaign (nothing like the scent of cow crap when leaving a basketball game) when they don't focus.

It depends on which team shows up. At this point with everything involved, I'd venture to guess it will be the "good" one.

Joel Thomas 10 years, 1 month ago

Definitely some jitters, but you've got to think bunnies are less susceptible to nerves, and more will fall. Momentum created. Or that's the hope.

Love "Don Knotts-nervous."

David Howell 10 years, 1 month ago

Riverdrifter, you couldn't be more wrong.

One more half like the 1st half tonight and the Hawks are done. No one did much, but the Morris twins were nothing sort of pathetic in the first half. Kief stood around time and time again, and I am sick of them shooting slow lazy shots that get blocked or going half ass to the hole. Illinois has a somewhat deep bench and plenty of bigs to throw at us. I thought Self should have parked Kief's butt on the end of the bench and said come find me when you seriously are ready to step on the court and play ball.

2nd half was way better, but then again some of that was Boston U running out of steam and #23 getting tired ................

P.S. Was it just me, or did that Referee crew really like to call a lot charges that were not really charges ?!?

ku98 10 years, 1 month ago

About the charge calls, I thought there were quite a few, but most seems legit. I just wish our guys would learn to "stop and pop" within 6 to 8ft of the hole instead of trying to take it all the way and risk a bad call.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 1 month ago

I disagree about Illinois having a deep bench. They played 7 guys last night and Richardson and Head came off the bench and played 14 and 15 minutes respectively. Illinois' best inside guy, Davis, played 39 minutes and dropped 22 points.

IMO, you contatin and carouel McCamey and you literally put the Twins, T-Rob, and Withey (Yes Withey) and take it right at Davis' chin and get him in foul trouble. You do those two things and KU wins going away. UNLV had nobody that could do those two things.

utahjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Exactly right, shaw. Illinois usually goes 7 deep. The question is how do we control ILL? McCamey is definitely the straw that stirs the drink. Davis and Tisdale contribute offensively and then their off guards.

Who do we put on McCamey? TT/Elijah are too light -- McCamey's strong. Maybe Travis or Mario even? If we limit McCamey, I think we'll be alright.

Gregor Southard 10 years, 1 month ago

I knew someone was going to say "one more game/half like this and we're done!" even before the game started. Good morning, whiners!

riverdrifter 10 years, 1 month ago

"Riverdrifter, you couldn't be more wrong.

One more half like the 1st half tonight and the Hawks are done"

I don't disagree. Time to man up and get after it.

ParisHawk 10 years, 1 month ago

In an article about Tyrel Reed, you might have mentioned that he is now tied with Sherron Collins as winningest player in KU history. There was so much ink about that last year, not so much this year.

Carter Patterson 10 years, 1 month ago

I agree! I've been wondering when a Tyrel Reed article about getting to 130 would be written.

REHawk 10 years, 1 month ago

I like Tyrel Reed's efficient unassuming nature. In this game, when the team struggled during the first 20 minutes, his shots made a huge difference for the Jayhawks. As teamates stepped up in the second 20 minutes he concentrated on other aspects of his game and did not shoot. All season we hear about, and see evidence of his tremendous vertical leap. Yet he prefers the accuracy of a layup to a dunk, the chancy display of which he saves for an exciting explosion in the denouement of his senior year. The steady progression and calming subtleties of his game have been invaluable to our 66-5 record these past two seasons...and, indeed, a joy to watch.

ralphralph 10 years, 1 month ago

"subtleties" = exactly. All kinds of small stuff that doesn't show up in the stats, and doesn't get noticed by the socialites waiting for the next big dunk, which is all they understand.

kcglowboy 10 years, 1 month ago

Nice column, Keegan. And while we're praising Tyrel, remember that tomorrow (Sunday) is the last day to vote:

Chris Shaw 10 years, 1 month ago

Finally, this voting is ending. It seems like I've been voting since December.

David Howell 10 years, 1 month ago

Seriously not bad ! However, I think that 71-5 with another "NC" will and can sound a lot better

Peter Dinh 10 years, 1 month ago

sounds like a good matchup Illinois and Kansas...Kansas wins

Redlandsjhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

I've been saying this for two years...Reed has ice water in his veins. If basketball and PT doesn't work out for him he'd make one hell of an air traffic controller. I did it for 22 years and you can tell the guys that can handle pressure. Go Tyrel, Rock Chalk!

slowplay 10 years, 1 month ago

I've got to disagree with the tight or nervous characterization of the team. If you ever played the game you know that when the game starts you begin to play on instinct and work on your game plan. I went back and watched the opening 5 minutes. The problem was poor execution. Period. Then when a couple of outside shots didn't fall, the guys began looking for the "perfect shot" instead of taking it when available. Poor passing, no penetration, no inside out. When they run and attack, it opens everything up (as evident in the 2nd half). They let BU's zone dictate the pace. Against Illinois, they need to move quicker in both transition and half-court play. Constantly attacking and rotating in fresh players will wear down their bigs and tire out their guards. Selby looked better, but was still forcing his shots. Releford can't stay with quick guards. Withey should see some action vs the Illinois bigs. EJ's making dumb mistakes (again). The Twins need to be aggressive going to the basket. Flat footed put backs won't cut it against Illinois. KU 78-Illinois 64

FarSideHawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Tyrel Reed is the rock of the team; more glue-guy than Brady.

On a couple of occasions yesterday, when he took the ball and started the break, he so reminded me of Hinrich!

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 1 month ago

Gonna miss Tyrel next year. It would be fitting to end his career in Houston, Texas, at the NC game, where the Jayhawks would capture the crown and that would mean another huge party down Mass. street.

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