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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Keegan

Travis Releford sets tone for KU

Kansas State coach Frank Martin greets KU's Travis Releford at the end of the Jayhawks 67-49 win against Kansas State at Allen Fieldhouse, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012.

Kansas State coach Frank Martin greets KU's Travis Releford at the end of the Jayhawks 67-49 win against Kansas State at Allen Fieldhouse, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012.

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Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 67-49 victory over Kansas State on Jan. 4, 2012.

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Kansas defeated Kansas State 67-49 on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

All week in practice, the end-of-the-bench guys on the Kansas University basketball team followed instructions to prepare for the much-anticipated game against rival Kansas State.

The orders called for the guys who wear red jerseys in practice to model their games after hockey goons, hunt heads the way Nolan Ryan did, bring a Ray Lewis mind-set to the basketball court.

The starters knew pretty was not going to describe the game, and the uglier things got in practice the more prepared they felt. Then the game started, and Travis Releford brought the intensity to another level to the delight of the 16,300 spectators in Allen Fieldhouse, who, like Releford, had their best games of the season. It was loud, and it was ugly.

Releford doesn’t have a loud game, but it can look ugly when he’s shooting, his right elbow flying, his release a little slow, or dribbling into trouble, or telegraphing a pass. But Releford knows how to make life miserable for the man he’s guarding, and he did that and more in the first half of KU’s most-impressive 67-49 victory against the Wildcats.

Kansas State’s star junior forward Rodney McGruder came into the game on a two-game streak in which he had scored 42 points and made 15 of 18 field goals.

“In the past, he has outrebounded us on offense and defense,” Releford said. “We just got after it and tried to make sure he didn’t get any rebounds on offense or defense.”

At the half, McGruder had six points and just one rebound on a night KU won the battle of the boards, 50-26.

Self challenged the players all week to a competition, urging each one to be the first to hit the floor for a loose ball. Releford was the winner.

Kansas State won the jump ball, and a few seconds into it, Releford tied up his opponent to force another jump ball. Shortly after that, he ripped the ball right out of a Wildcat’s hands to steal a possession.

He made some mistakes, throwing errant passes, and misfired some shots, but he made six of 11, and he followed one of those misses with a successful put-back, another by flying out of bounds and firing a pass to the lane that led to a bucket.

“I said something to him at halftime about how he got it started off on the right foot, right off the get-go with that jump ball,” said Conner Teahan, who hit back-to-back, back-breaking three-pointers in the second half. “Everybody came up to him and said something. We had a saying, ‘first loose ball.’ Travis got that loose ball. Then he got an offensive rebound, knocked that three down. He gave us confidence with his play early on. He played a great game today.”

A blue-collar basketball player who earns his playing time by frustrating smooth basketball artists into ugly performances, Releford keeps his approach simple.

He’s the see-the-ball, hit-the-ball guy in the batting order, the pitcher who zones in on the catcher’s mitt and tries to hit the target.

Kansas coach Bill Self harped on the need to dominate the boards in the days leading into the game. Sounded simple enough to Releford.

“We had our mind set on trying to control the glass, and we came out and did it,” Releford said.

One Big 12 game down, 17 to go.

Comments

Scott MacWilliams 2 years, 6 months ago

"At the half, McGruder had six points and just one rebound on a night KU won the battle of the boards, 50-26."

50 to frikin' 26 rebounds???

That's what you call a beatdown!!

What would have happened if we had 10 turnovers and 15 assists instead of 20 and 8 or whatever it was?? The score could have been 77-39 or somewhere in that neighborhood...

ROCK CHALK, JAYHAWKS!!!

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Alohahawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Birds (Jayhawks) of a feather? I think Keegan stole my idea when I ended my post on the Keegan Ratings with "In the conference, one down, 17 (wins?) to go." In other words, "Which came first? His writing this article, or my post?"

If KU can continue rebounding the same way against everyone else in the conference, the Jayhawks will do just fine.

Like that line. "First loose ball." Be the first Jayhawk to accomplish that during each game. Imagine hearing that chant roared out from the crowd during each game in AFH. Might instill incentive to the Jayhawks. And at season's end, receive an award for having the most "First loose balls". (Ehh, take that as figuratively speaking, not physically.)

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jayhawker_97 2 years, 6 months ago

"Releford doesn’t have a loud game, but it can look ugly when he’s shooting, his right elbow flying, his release a little slow, or dribbling into trouble, or telegraphing a pass."

-- right on, Keegan. add to that: Travis does pretty spin moves, even though he misses the basket! but at least he goes after the ball immediately. when he plays that confident, wow, this team all of a sudden has depth!

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KU_Alumn_2000 2 years, 6 months ago

Jayhawk Nation...get ready for a crazy ride through the conference schedule. Down year ? I don't think so...this team is going to be exciting to watch through the rest of the season.

Releford is long, fast, and athletic. I love his ability to scrap for loose balls, rebound, dribble penetrate, and play lock down defense. In my opinion...he has some characteristics that other KU teams in the past needed.

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mae 2 years, 6 months ago

amen KU_Alumn_2000. Travis has wicked spins and ball control. Sometimes it seems too much and not enough basket but he's definitely exciting. A great NBADL player for sure.

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wfzman 2 years, 6 months ago

I would like to see Travis play wide receiver on the football team next year. He is fast, strong, has great hands and is bigger than ANYONE who would guard him. Actually I would bet that he has a better chance with the NFL than then NBA.

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dylans 2 years, 6 months ago

Do you mean Peters? Hands off the basketball players Weis.

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wfzman 2 years, 6 months ago

Nope. The basketball player.

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NebraskaJayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

In the 2008 season, RusRob was the "glueman" on that team. I think Releford could very well be that player this season as he continues to develop. Great game, Travis.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 6 months ago

Good point, although next year when we are uber-young and uber-talented, he may emerge as the team leader.

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Jack Wilson 2 years, 6 months ago

I'll toss out that we need exactly what we got from Releford last night, all the time (except for the 11 rebounds .. that could be a nice 6 or 7 each night).

Attacking, shooting, slashing, hustling. This was Releford being assertive.

That's the player many of us thought he could be offensively. He can do this each night, but for all those rebounds. What he was doing are things he can control. Shots going in, or bouncing out .. that will come and go. But attacking, taking shots, slashing, hustling .. all items he can control.

With all due respect the dreaded "glue" reference above, he's more than that.

And the excellent defense to go with it. Love it.

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jayhawklawrence 2 years, 6 months ago

Without Releford we don't win this game.

That's my opinion and I am sticking to it.

It is great that Travis is getting some recognition because he does the things that don't show up on stat sheets.

He was a monster out there...a nightmare for the other team.

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Jonathan Allison 2 years, 6 months ago

Travis has impressive body control when he gets into the paint. He spins like a ballerina. But little brother Trevor needs to teach him how to handle the rock. I get scared watching him dribble in the open court and, he sure does throw it away quite a bit.

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Dyrk Dugan 2 years, 6 months ago

TRele was great...no doubt about it. the key is now, to get a repeat of this kind of performance....again, and again, and again. it has to happen multiple times during the conference season....so we can max out our victories and compete for the title.

because if we don't have that third scorer (i'm putting TRob and Tyshawn as the first two) then it wont' happen. it's good to hear that he took so much of HCBS's challenge to heart...and really tried to execute during the game. a huge lift.

now let's duplicate this on the road, the next two games..and then get ready for the 'Clons and the Baylor Bears.

with the kind of effort we had last night, it could be a really fun year. Go Jayhawks!

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 6 months ago

Picture looks like Frank is saying..."why didn't you come to KSU, pal?"

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GeoHawk15 2 years, 6 months ago

I agree that Releford was definitely a difference maker this game and it was great to see him be more assertive offensively. However, I still think he can go further with his aggressiveness. I noticed several times when Releford had a wide open look or lane to the basket and he hesitated or passed it to someone else. Make or miss, I would have been happy to see him take the shot and I'll bet Coach Self will show him the tape of those instances to point out the same thing.

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Michael Pannacciulli 2 years, 6 months ago

Defense wins games. Releford brings D. I don't care if he isnt CP3 handling the rock, too late for him to learn that...but thank god for his D and his intensity.

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addlime 2 years, 6 months ago

Travis looked really good with the pump fake drive for a lay up. He gets to the rim effortlessly. I hope he continues to play both smart and aggressive.

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JHawk74 2 years, 6 months ago

I would like to see Taylor, Johnson and Releford all take the ball to the basket more often instead of shooting the 3 point so often. They are all athletic and should look to drive instead of the 3 point shoot first. I honestly think Taylor can get to the basket almost every time if he wanted too. He may have to shoot a few outside jumpers to keep the defense on their heels. Why aren't we throwing Johnson alley-oops this year? In the past couple years we would throw 1-2 a game to him. I can't figure out why Tharpe is looking for his offense so much this year. If he would come into the game run the point guard position and play defense he would get more playing time. I think he get's benched because he jacks up stupid shoots during the game. Every time he shoots way too early in the shoot clock and hasn't made very many shoots this year. We don't have much depth but we possibly have the best all round player in the Big 12 in Robinson and probably the best defensive player in the Big 12 in Releford and the best shoot blocker in Withey. Teahan is a solid player off the bench also. If Johnson and Taylor find a way to cut down on turnovers we should win the Big 12 again this year.

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actorman 2 years, 6 months ago

I hate to be a pest, but since you used it incorrectly three times you should know that the word is "shot," not "shoot" (as in, "... because he jacks up stupid SHOTS during the game," "... too early in the SHOT clock," and "... hasn't made very many SHOTS this year").

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