Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Travis Releford scores Big 12 honor

Kansas guard Travis Releford, right, gets a hug from teammate Thomas Robinson after KU's win over Oklahoma on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center.

Kansas guard Travis Releford, right, gets a hug from teammate Thomas Robinson after KU's win over Oklahoma on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center.



Bill Self weekly press conference: Jan. 9, 2012

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Kansas head men's basketball coach Bill Self addressed the media at his weekly press conference Monday, Jan. 9, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Thomas Robinson and Travis Releford talk before Texas Tech game

KU forward Thomas Robinson says he doesn't have the green light from KU coach Bill Self to take it coast to coast after getting a rebound. "More like a yellow," Robinson said with a laugh. He and KU small forward Travis Releford talked to media members on Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Travis Releford, who is known as Kansas University’s defensive stopper, put up some wildly impressive numbers on offense last week.

Those numbers — 28 points at Oklahoma and 16 (with a career-high 11 boards) against Kansas State — caught the attention of a media panel that Monday named the 6-foot-6 KU junior Big 12 Men’s Basketball Player of the Week.

“When I first heard about it, I was a little surprised. I’ve never been Big 12 Player of the Week or come close to it. I’m just happy about it, I guess,” Releford said Monday afternoon.

Releford hit 15 of 24 shots for 62.5 percent during the two games, including five of nine from three. He also made nine of 10 free throws with three assists and two steals.

“Coming into the game, I don’t say I have to score for us to win. We have Tyshawn (Taylor), Elijah (Johnson) and T-Rob (Thomas Robinson) to do that, and they have been doing that,” Releford said.

Robinson, in fact, has won Player of the Week honors three times this season.

“My goal is to come in and stop the other team’s best player on the wing or if I have to guard down low. That’s what I come into the game to do. The scoring just happens. My teammates find me in the right spots. With their scoring ability, it just opens up a lot for me. I don’t have to do much. I’m just playing off how they play,” Releford added.

KU coach Bill Self believes the Roeland Park Bishop Miege graduate is concentrating on all the right things.

“He’s been pretty aggressive in practice,” Self said. “I think he’s worrying about things you can control every night. You can control your energy, loose balls and defense. When you worry about the right things, it seems to me you naturally score more. He’s scoring more (by) not worrying about scoring.”

As far as scoring ... “Travis is never going to be a 20-point-per-game guy,” Self said. “But he can get 28 in any game. He’s proven that. He is a defender, a loose-ball guy, an energy guy that scores basically out of making simple plays. A lot of players don’t know who they are. He knows who he is, and he knows how to play to his strengths. He’s playing with more confidence the more success he’s having. Him getting Big 12 Player of the Week is so deserved in my opinion. That should give him a lot of confidence because you’ve got to be one of the premier players around to win an award like that. He certainly proved it this first week of conference play.”

Releford talks a lot about confidence, something he says he gained by taking a red-shirt season at KU two seasons ago.

“Confidence-wise, skill-wise, just learning the way coach wanted me to play,” Releford said of benefits of practicing, but not playing in games, for a full season.

Self noted: “Because of depth, we’ve been able to red-shirt (Conner) Teahan. Because of depth we’ve been able to red-shirt Releford. Because of transfer (rules), we’ve been able to red-shirt (Jeff) Withey. Three of our top six are spending an extra year here. That’s because of depth.

“If we needed those guys immediately, we wouldn’t have done that. I think that bodes well for our guys from a recruiting standpoint that our system has done a good job getting players of pretty high quality so we can afford to do something like that. Coaches get a lot of credit sometimes when players get better. The biggest reason why players get better is they want to get better. Travis has a great attitude. I think that we coach them up pretty good, though. If you have a mind-set that you want to do something with this, then you’re probably going to do it. He’s had so many repetitions of doing it the way that we coach it, that he’s gotten really good of playing it those ways. I think that he’s bought in and that’s the biggest reason why he’s doing really well.”

More on Taylor: A caller to Self’s weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show voiced support for senior Tyshawn Taylor, who entered into a sparring match on Twitter with critics Friday night.

Of Taylor, Self said: “This team relies on Tyshawn as much as any team we’ve had rely on any one person since I’ve been here. I think fans obviously should respect that.

“I’m proud of Tyshawn. He loses focus, does a lot of things that makes you scratch your head. That does happen, but he can play. He can get in the paint whenever he wants to. He’s not scared. Gosh, he makes things happen in there. He’s trying to communicate with guys, being a good leader. If you are a point guard here, you have more scrutiny with that than maybe at some other places. If fans didn’t talk about you, it would mean they didn’t care as much. It’s something you live with, deal with. There are ways to get people to respond differently, show it through his play. You can’t worry about what people think. Go out and play and have fun. Fans that think he could be doing more for us, I’m not sure I totally disagree. But you can go down the line and say everybody should be doing more.”

Next: KU (12-3 overall, 2-0 Big 12) will meet Texas Tech (7-7, 0-2) at 8 p.m. Wednesday at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock. Tech, which is led by first-year coach Billy Gillispie, is 6-1 at home, 1-3 in road games and 0-3 at neutral sites. The Red Raiders average 66.6 points per game and allow 65.8 and are outrebounding their opponents 32.2-30.9. Tech ranks second in the Big 12 in shooting percentage at 48.4 percent.


jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

TTech v. KU.

Not just Okie Ball v. Okie Ball.

But one of those rare looks at...

Self Ball v. Self Ball.

Neither team trying to set tempo.

Both defending, glassvaccing and playing take what they give us.

Most matches between Bill and Billy start tentatively, slow, waiting to discover what the other is going to be giving.

Usually one has to send more to the boards to control paint.

Then the other starts running.

Then the running of one opens running for the other.

Then the running means the half court game is more open to exploit.

Then the game slows down.

And back and forth it goes.

Its good to have Billy back...

If he doesn't beat us.

Control the boards.

Or fall victim to Self Ball Gillispie style.

Ron Prichard 9 years, 11 months ago

Tech doesn't have the players to board with KU. Tech doesn't have the players to play Self Ball. Gillespie is a good coach, so maybe in a few years, but this is going to be a demonstration on what a talented team can do to a talent-starved team. In a half-filled arena, you will see KU move to 3-0 with relative ease.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

You're usually on point, so I am going to be reassured.

But there is still a little voice in my head that is saying be afraid of Billy. :-)

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 10 months ago

Would have rather seen him elsewhere...Kentucky fans are too dumb to realize they let a team BUILDER get away. Now they have Cal assembling his one and doners until the inevitable NCAA investigations start.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

"We coach them up good, too." --Bill Self

Uh, yea, I'd say so. :-)

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

It took a few years, but Self has finally paradoxed Travis out of thinking he is a star, so he can now be a star.

CBernie, who got her psychology has to get a kick out of what her head basketball coach does with his players heads. :-)

Self says Travis will never be a 20 ppg guy, after he scores 28.

Hint: Self has never had a 20 ppg guy, despite having had a bunch of first founders.

Hint: Trav is on track to being one of Self's best, because Trav has learned to be one of Self's least.

Trav came in star bait.

He will leave a total basketball player.

An old man's game is the highest compliment.

It means means Mr. Athletic now has as much game above the neck, as below.

Trav is becoming an ultimate Self Baller.

The guy born with the vertical game, now has the horizontal game to match.

Rock on.

Self just has to go around the barn with Trav to get there.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Re: TT

Self always gets it about a player.

Tyshawn is a walking MUA at PG.

No guard in the country can deny him the rim.

No guard in the country can put him on an iron diet.

This means bigs have to stop him.

This means TRob, or Jeff are unguarded.

This means wings have to help.

This means EJ and Travis are open.

Just ask Travis of the 28.

Tyshawn has a focus problem.

But notice that he is always net productive even on the big TO nights.

And his focus keeps improving little by little.

Tyshawn gets the problem now.

He is working on it.

He is going to have it under better control by March.

KU is going to be very tough.

WilburNether 9 years, 11 months ago

"Tyshawn gets the problem now. He is working on it. He is going to have it under better control by March."

I agree with the first two assertions, but the third, well...not so much. I certainly hope you're right, but considering he's roughly halfway through his FOURTH (4th) season as a starter, what reason is there to think that this leopard is going to change his spots in the next 60 days? I think Self is doing a masterful job of managing the Taylor situation, but.....

He got it after his freshman year. He worked on it. He did not have it under better control.

He got it after his sophomore year. He worked on it. He did not have it under better control.

He got it after his junior year. He worked on it. He did not have it under better control.

He gets it (again) mid-way through his senior year. He's (still) working on it. The reason one should think he's going to have it under better control in March is...?

Unfortunately, KU is not going to be very tough in March, because (1) there is a lack of quality depth, and (2) it is highly unlikely that this team can play two or three NCAA Tournament games (let alone four or six) without Bad Tyshawn showing up. And when that happens, the season is over. Too many eggs in that basket.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago


You are right to be skeptical.

Tyshawn's concentration issue is a bit like being a bad free throw shooter.

It is not likely to sharply improve, but it can get better.

And occasionally, like TRob, a bad FT shooter for two seasons, can suddenly find a workable stroke and become a serviceable FT shooter.

So: let's just agree that TT will probably have a a few high TO games in the Madness, and one of them might kill us, just as any player's weakness might.

But we are likely to go as far as we go because of TT also.

Regardless, thanks for the take.

tonyjayhawk35 9 years, 11 months ago

I think you are not correct saying they will not be tough come March.This team has been playing just as good defense as anyone in the country.I think you will be eating those words come March.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Posting to Wilbur, or me?

I think they may surprise everyone and win the NC this season.

RockChalk0808 9 years, 11 months ago


While I often appreciate your perspective and agree with your points, I find your delivery to be arrogant and abrasive. Do you really need to put a space between each of your points, as if every strike of your keyboard is genius that we mere mortals must contemplate? Scripture is less assuming. Your posts take up more space than the article itself, and you don't even write in complete sentences. I know this is going to come across as a troll, but I'm trying to be constructive here. Believe it or not, most readers don't come here to hear what you have to say, but to engage in a dialogue. I would appreciate it if you would share your perspective more concisely, conversationally, and as an opinion. Thank you.

Rock Chalk, RockChalk

Thad Daugherty 9 years, 11 months ago

Here, here 0808! I made mention to this on another thread. JB doesn't get it. Look at this thread, JB just likes to see their words in print. I mean who has time to sit and write all of these comments?

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 10 months ago

Don't like? Then don't read and move on. Brilliant!

RockChalk0808 9 years, 10 months ago

Yeah okay, easier said than done, Puddle Jumper :-P

I mean I have to scroll for a solid 30 seconds in order to "move on." Point is, this isn't his medium to dominate. I think he should set up a blog. That way he can make money on advertisements and it can be a destination for people interested in his dissertations.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 10 months ago

Most Important Attributes for a PG

1) Values the ball 2) All-around team leader and floor General. 3) Can drive and create, hit open jumpers and FTs 4) Knows his teammates skills and uses them often. 5) Great passer and maximizes assists..getting all players involved. 6) Fearless not reckless. Will take the last shot or pass to the open man.

Then add size, speed, defense and some intangibles.. Do you see Tyshawn?

He has ALL those 'attributes' but doesn't always use them. Nor are they all in the same state of development.
He has a tendency to be reckless, not value the ball on every possession. Both trending positive.

Can he hit the high pressure FTs? The winning shot OR assist.

Drive and create or drive and pass out. Should he get the ball inside more often? The High/Low of old days seems distant.

No doubt Tyshawn gets can see the improvement. He doesn't need to be Chris Paul or John Stockman. But can he put it all together for one final run?

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Way to hit a frozen rope with your post.

Seeking answers to these questions are part of what makes us watch every season.

How will players fare?

Will they fulfill their potentials?

Or rise above themselves?

Rock Chalk!

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Who should shoot our technicals?

Withey is near 85%.

Everyone else is below 80%.

The longer Jeff's FT shooting stays spiked, the more he seems the guy.

Or do you opt for experience?

Interesting issue for Self.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 10 months ago

Not Withey in game winning/losing minutes UNLESS he has already had a good night at the line..other than that, all he can do is go by his gut.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 11 months ago

I wish Releford would have been this far along two years ago in 2010 with Collins and Aldrich. It's all rel(ly)ative, but it's his time now and I've loving the maturation process with this kid. Releford deserves it!

yates33333 9 years, 11 months ago

JB you're still the best..

For those who gripe about TT, screw'em.

If Releford wasn't Big 12 (or 8, or 10, or whatever) player of the week there ought to be an investigation.

WilburNether 9 years, 11 months ago

"For those who gripe about TT, screwém."

Would that include the person who made these comments?

"He loses focus, does a lot of things that makes you scratch your head....Fans that think he could be doing more for us, I’m not sure I totally disagree."

So screw Coach Self, hmm?

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 11 months ago

When the coach says it, it's an evaluation, not a gripe.:-)

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago


Board rats forget that when KU "runs the stuff" and "the stuff" doesn't work, Self defaults to his point guard to stress the defense with drives down the lane until the opposing defense reveals a vulnerability.

Self requires guys at the point that have MUA in this regard. Sherron had it. Tyshawn has it.

Driving the lane is tactic and strategy.

Tactically it is go get a basket and/or a FT when we are struggling.

Strategically, it is drive to the rim and expose a vulnerability that we coaches on the bench can scheme against.

When things have bogged down and Tyshawn starts driving the lane, it is an admission by Self that he and his assistants cannot find the vulnerability in the opposing defense.

But when Tyshawn starts using his lightening speed down the pipe, then the other defenses, no matter how well they are schemed to stop "the stuff" that is Self's regular offense, the defenders suddenly have to give up their schemes and start collapsing to stop Mr. Light Speed--the Quantum T.

People who complain about Tyshawn not always winding up with a graceful drive and a basket are just naive about what Self is doing with Tyshawn.

You don't get a perfectly graceful drive and stuff, or pull up floater every time. If that were feasible, then Self would never "run the stuff." He would have everyone clear out and have Tyshawn drive every time.

It is a calculated risk to send Tyshawn down the pipe three or four times in a row.

Taking the risk is based on Tyshawn's incredible speed and elusiveness.

He is so good that 2 out of four times he is likely to get a basket and/or some FTs, while he is stressing and exposing the opposing defense.

Frankly, other players on this team, including TRob, have big games, when opposing coaches scheme to stop Tyshawn.

Tyshawn is effective in this role any time, but he is deadly when he is draining treys at 40-50%.

Anyone in the country that tries to stop him from taking treys, is doomed to him visiting the rim unattended.

REHawk 9 years, 11 months ago

This season, more than any other in LJW articles, we have read Bill Self's analysis of his essential coaching style. His recent comments about Taylor and Releford go a long way in describing the ingredients of Self-Ball. First and foremost, the guy is a patient master psychologist in working with the tenacious 3 and 4 star recruits who possess the drive to improve and win, and are willing to take the time in Lawrence to do so. Our entire starting lineup shows flashes of a team which is building momentum to compete well with anyone. Self is not yet being mentioned on the national scene for COY...but in the final shakedown he just might run off with that award, hands down.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 11 months ago

Above, Jaybate identified TT's biggest deficiency. A deficiency that I have said from the time he has had the ball in his hands, that defines him as a player.

JB mentioned that no guard can deny TT the rim; we know he gets into the paint at will. An admirable and terrific skill for a point guard.

As a result -- help defense is necessary -- you said "This means TRob, or Jeff are unguarded."

Problem is, TT won't pass. He won't dish (it is a remote occurence, let's say, when he penetrates). When he drives he looks for his shot first. It is a broken record. I have said this for how long now. I would probably say over the years I have seen easily over a hundred opportunities for TT to dish when he drives -- one game last season I counted 6 -- when instead, he shoots, gets blocked, makes a turnover, etc. Next game, go back an look on your DVR how many open opportunities there are for TT to pass when he drives. Magically, when you pass first, easier scoring can be created for the point guard because the help defenders are a touch more hesitant to fully commit to the help.

As a result, "This means Marcus, and Markieff, and Cole are unguarded." Ever wonder what might have been if TT simply looked to pass when he penetrated?

TT does not "(get) the problem now." He never has. He never will. If he cannot grasp how effective he was in the first part of last season, before the Selby vs. USC game, then he is a lost cause in that regard. What we see from Taylor is a roller-coaster. A guy who pulls back into a shell a bit after the blow-up. Then slowly pokes his head out more and more until it gets chopped off (blow up game).

TT did not create Releford's 28 points. TT had 3 assists. TT was not the cause of Releford's 28 points. He was no more a contibutor than TRob, or EJ. Releford was the real cause of Releford's 28 points, and the 16 vs. KSU. It was Releford who decided he was going to take opportunities when then they were presented. It is a team game, of couse, and each player benefits from the other, or vice versa. But we can't deny what we saw in Releford's approach the past two games.

TT had a measly 3 assists vs. OU (which I do understand is not the entire picture on creativity as a point guard, particularly on a one game look -- but when you have multiple seasons as your body of work, the assist stat becomes more defining for a poing guard). TT getting in the paint is a good thing. TT dishing as his first option on penetration would truly mean the light bulb has gone on. And if that light bulb had gone on 2 seasons ago, we can speculate on KU's successes. But we can all likely agree we'd be looking at a first round NBA draft pick.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

With all due respect, I both recognize the point you are trying to make, but could not see it more differently.

Because of your excellent analytical skills, and focus on assists, I believe you may be overlooking something simple but subtle.

There was no reason for Tyshawn to have a bunch of assists given the way Kruger schemed his defense.

The way he schemed the defense meant that the ball would not be in Tyshawn's hands nearly as much of the time.

Kruger and an OU player basically admitted why Travis had a big game. They let him have one.

Kruger schemed to stop Tyshawn, TRob and EJ, and essentially said we don't think Travis Releford can beat us if left unattended. Much of the time Travis literally had no one on him.

Thus, the game became about Tyshawn and EJ standing on the trey stripe and keeping the ball from sticking. Their jobs were to keep moving the ball around the perimeter, and in and out to TRob, or Withey, with the primary purpose of letting the collapse in the paint free up Travis. It is only logical that Travis scoring would come from an even distribution of assists rather than from assists heavily concentrated on Tyshawn.

(Note: we know Tyshawn can dish effectively, because he has had several games with large assist numbers. Numbers of assists and their distribution depend largely on how an opponent schemes its defense to stop KU.

Self did not try to originate offense out of Travis in a wing point offense, as he did last season with Selby and Brady. Rather, Self let Tyshawn's and EJ's and Travis' passes into the post collapse the defense into triple teams that triggered Travis to be free in half court.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Let me rephrase something up top.

"With all due respect, I both recognize the point you are trying to make, but see it differently."

I don't mean to imply any strident tone here.

I enjoyed reading your POV. It made me think.

I just interpret the situation than you do.

But your POV is just as credible as mine.

Wouldn't it be great if Self would step in here and tell us what he thinks? :-)

But if he did, then he would have no time to coach.

That would be the worst of all possible worlds.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Taking half court offense into account, I reckon Travis scored maybe half his points in half court do to not being guarded tightly.

But the other half of his offense came from transition, where OU really paid for leaving him unattended. With Travis' man doubling, or tripling TRob, Travis was free to release almost the way a point guard playing safety does always. We know this was occurring because Trav had so few rebounds, in comparison, say, with his KSU effort, where he was sent to the glass every time, instead of being released for transition.

Self telegraphed his awareness of OU leaving Trav unattended, too, when Self said Travis is not a 20ppg guy and never will be; that was Self's polite way of saying, "Well, hell no Travis can't hang 20ppg with a defender on him all the time. Trav is coming along very well, but let's not get carried away here. Travis man was guarding TRob." :-)

But if Tyshawn were as inadequate as some say, Kruger would probably have used Tyshawn's man to triple TRob, when ever offensive flow had put Tyshawn in a corner, or on a wing. Such did not happen that I recall.

Self and Trav took what Kruger game. Trav killed them with open looks, and transition baskets.

It is because Tyshawn has been so tremendously effective at the point with 40-50% trey shooting and on-demand get to the rim game, plus TRob acting like Optimus Prime unless he is consistently doubled (or tripled) that opponents have had to make a choice about who to leave unattended.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Kruger apparently respected EJ's trey gun, guessing EJ was due to come out of his slump at any moment, and opted to keep covering EJ, while he often triple teamed TRob with Travis' man, or so it appeared to me. Travis man seemed always to be sagging off to help with the bigs.

Base line: Travis can not have a 28 point night unless the opponent schemes to stop Tyshawn, Trob, and EJ, and leaves Travis unattended most of the time.

The reason I am predicting a big break out game for EJ very soon, is not because I think he is ready to carry the mail every night: there is no sign of that yet. Rather, it is because the next logical option is for an opposing coach with an outmanned team (as was the case with Kruger and OU) to try to scheme to stop Tyshawn, double and triple TRob with EJ's man, and see if EJ can beat them.

EJ better be ready to do what Travis did, or KU may get an L on an off night. It is coming sure as a winter storm in January.

But, regardless, it seems inarguable that TT was crucial to Travis big scoring game. If KU didn't have Tyshawn, then the opponent would just take turns tripling TRob with all the perimeter defenders and KU would not be able to turn the game over to Travis by keeping Tyshawn and EJ at the trey stripe that a defense has to honor.

While everyone rails about Tyshawn's pop tarts and sings Handel's Messiah about his get to the rim game, the real order of magnitude difference in Tyshawn between this season and last is his healed shooting hand and his leap to 40-50% trey shooting.

As long as Tyshawn continues to drain treys at even 40%, and TRob stays healthy, and Wither keeps being able to stay on the floor 25 mph, then either EJ, or Travis, get to have games like Travis had against weak opponents.

Against a team with good bigs that don't have to double, or triple TRob, however, KU has to be ready to grind it out man to man, and play for broad distribution of scoring aka Traditional Self Ball.

Kye Clark 9 years, 11 months ago

I am in complete agreement and have been saying as much all season. It's not just the OU game (as Jaybate focused on), it's a career-long epidemic with Tyshawn. Sometimes he backs into a good assist game, but he could have Kendall Marshall-like numbers on a consistent basis if he could get it in his head that off the drive the best option is the dish.

Of course, it is not all Tyshawn's fault. His shoot-first philosophy has been reinforced by Self & Co. that his misses off guarded shots in the lane are as good as assists due to us getting a percentage of offensive rebounds and put-backs. While that is a nice by-product of his misses, it shouldn't be plan "A". First of all, the shot by an open teammate still is a higher percentage shot than the likelihood of scoring off of the initial shot (which Self says his floaters have maybe a 20% chance of going in), the chances of grabbing the offensive rebound should he miss, and then the percentage of resulting points we actually get in a possession following an offensive rebound. And like you said, if he would learn to pass first, it would open up his own shot and he would have an easier time when he did look to shoot, as help defense would lessen and the likelihood of making his shots would thus increase.

Dustin Hothan 9 years, 11 months ago

Off topic, but for facebookers who would like KU news in their news feed go to and like the page. Just a fan page not affiliated with the university. Share comments and pics..anything. Rock Chalk and Congrats T-Rele!

9 years, 11 months ago

Great heartfelt message always_a_jayhawk, but you're not getting my Bud Light :)

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Hey, second chances are what America is all about.

Just ask the Puritans, and Presbyterians, and Catholics, and Jews, and Islamists, and Buddhists, and so on that came here for a second chance; escaping religious intolerance and religious high jacking of their former countries governments, where one religious order got control of what should have been a religiously diverse and tolerant secular state with institutions preventing anyone religion from high jacking political, corporate or other organizational power.

Right? :-)

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 11 months ago

Step back from the ledge...

Okay..everyone has a brain fart now and then..having to change your User ID will not be in the list of regrets all aging and elder men ponder from time to time.

We follow the same team. KU & Jayhawks are probably the only things most of us will ever have in common.

Everyone regrets taking things too far on occasion...being a Jayhawk comes w/internal tensions if you follow sports. Just try to remember tat we all care about this team. No one agrees all the time.

Regards, You will always be jhwkfan162515 to me.

Kye Clark 9 years, 11 months ago

I thought the same thing when I read those comments. Especially this year where we are so limited offensively, it was surprising to see him put the "psychological ceiling" on him as you say. I imagine it is Self's way of saying to Travis that his focus needs to remain on defense, that perhaps he is worried that if Travis develops a scorer's mentality it will take away from his defensive focus.

Additionally, I think it would behoove Self to start installing a scorer's mentality in Travis. "Go look for your shot", "you have the green light", "take 'em", etc. Next year when TRob (almost certainly) & Tyshawn are gone, who is going to carry the scoring load? Where points come from will be even more uncertain next year than it was coming into this year.

Or course, Self knows Travis better than we do, so maybe this is just a psychological challenge thrown at Travis. Like "yeah you've had a nice run of games, but I don't think you can maintain it consistently. Go prove me wrong."

Jack Wilson 9 years, 11 months ago

I just read Jaybate's reply above.

The theme I detected from JB is that OU essentially gave Releford the points. Meaning he thinks Releford's scoring was a partial result of OU generally not guarding him as firmly and Releford capitalized. I don't think I disagree with that. But this isn't the first time this season that teams have sagged off Releford, or guarded other threats more closely. Releford's mindset is all that really has changed (it appears).

Not sure that the defense sagging would explain the 16 vs. KSU, though, which is to my point.

I agree with you though. Travis can be a 20 per game guy. Won't be in Self's system. No one is. But we don't need that. We need that 15 - 17, with upward nights with 20+. The key, I think, is Releford changing his approach .. being aggressive. Awesome to see.

As ict says .. a "scorer's mentality" is the next step. Can we win a national title? What needs to happen? This is one.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

If I thought Self were really putting a lid on Travis, I would agree with you. You have an ex-player's keenness about what players abilities are and you often have insights into what a coach is up to in terms of button pushing.

But there is an aspect of coaching that sometimes goes beyond mere button pushing for short term performance enhancement, or driving players to fit team roles.

Some coaches truly do care about players as human beings, and truly do see things in players' psychologies that they need help escaping.

It is not that such coaches are pure altruists. Sometimes they cannot afford to help certain players with structural problems, but as Self said, some of the depth in recent years has allowed him to bring some players along more slowly and help them both as human being and as persons. I believe Travis is one of these players.

IMHO, Self is practicing some psychology here with Travis.

From afar, Travis has seemed to me one of those older brothers that tries so hard to be good, to live up to expectations, that he sometimes takes everything upon himself. He has always had a ton of physical talent and so through high school he probably could always bear down with his physical talent and shine and be the star that everyone wanted him to be.

He appeared to me to come to KU and to try to continue in the same mode. Travis has never appeared to have been anything other than a stellar human being trying too hard to be great.

To me, Self recognized both Travis' limitations in certain fundamental skills of basketball, and certain limitations on focus, and patience, and Self cared enough about Travis (and had the luxury of enough depth) to put Travis on a slow track that let Travis break out of always being an older brother trying to solve all problems by himself and to live up to everyone's expectations of him...and certainly he put some of the highest expectations on himself.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Some may view this as Self stifling a natural athlete's freedom, of forcing him into a team mold, when it would have been better for Travis to go to UK where John Calipari would accept his psychology as it was, and let him play.

We will never know about which path might have produced the more prolific scorer and player sooner.

But I think there is no doubt that Self's approach has produced the better adjusted person, the more thoroughly competent basketball player, and the player more likely to have both a functional life and a longer and more solid professional basketball career, if he chooses that path.

It has no doubt probably been trying and painful for family and friends of Travis to see this once budding star "broken down" and "rebuilt" to significant degree.

It was no doubt deeply frustrating to see him come so close to breaking out last season, only to have an ankle injury sideline him, and then some kind of apparent conflict with Self about his ability to play on his injury trigger Self to go with Mario Little exclusively down the stretch. I know it was for me, and I liked Little as well as I liked Travis.

But I can't argue with the player that Self's "coaching up" has produced.

Travis, who came to KU as wild as a March hare, as lacking in insight about how to play the game seriously as many players his first two years, now has an "old man's game" to quote Self. Travis plays basketball now like a person who has deep insight into himself and into the game, while still possessing the incredible athleticism that he will put to wise use as a professional athlete.

I would not trade two previous seasons of precocious scoring in a free lance offense for what he has become this season.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Travis is now the bedrock of the perimeter. He is the man on the perimeter who comes to work with his lunch pale every game and does what it takes make the team win. Time and again, when things get wild and wooly with Tyshawn and EJ out their trying to impact with less than great success, Travis is the stabilizing influence when the three meet to settle each other down and get back to functional basketball. Time and again Travis is now all that is good about a big brother with none of the dysfunctional, try-to-hard stuff. Time and again Travis is the man with enough ability to do anything Self asks playing utterly within himself and within the fabric of the team roles assigned in a steadying way that reminds the others that they can to. Time and again, it is Travis that is the settling influence.

Self understood Travis ad a huge personality to go along with his huge physical presence. But he also understood that that personality was in the beginning very much the striving too hard older brother, and not the grown man and mature teammate. With a player with a less dominant personality, and physicality, Self might have been able to scheme around Travis' striving too hard personality. But when Travis steps on the floor, it tilts in his direction. There aren't a lot players like this, certainly not a lot players his size. Bigs more often exude this kind of influence, but Travis does it and when he was stuck in the trying-to-hard psychology of his childhood, it was particularly disruptive to team play.

Travis could be just as great a basketball player as you say, Slayr. And i believe he will be.

But I believe Self understands there is still a risk of Travis back-sliding, of Travis returning to the trying-to-hard big brother.

I think his quote you refer to is some what prophylactic in intention. He is trying to give Travis a season of being this new person and player he has worked so hard for so long to become. He is trying to keep the pressure off Travis that might seduce him back into being the big brother than tries to hard, rather than the grown man that is a rock solid teammate and a steadying influence that lets the game come to him.

lincase 9 years, 11 months ago

I know I shouldn't, but I simply can't resist: What would Travis accomplish if he brought his colorful lunch instead of his pale one?

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Its seems apparent to me that Travis is being groomed to be one of two cornerstones, and one of three, or four grown men on next season's team. Certainly EJ is projected as the other cornerstone and grown man. Certainly Travis is. Certainly Jeff and Kevin are hoped to be the other two grown men. But it remains to be seen if they can develop in time and have the physicality to be 30 minute men next year. Both may grow into men, but lack the tonnage to be 30 minute men even next season. Hard to say.

But Travis?

If Travis continues on the path he is on, whether he has another big scoring game, or not this season, he is going to be an absolute man, as Self likes to call some of his players that produce as consummate basketball players.

(Note: The above posts were a response to Slayr. I hadn't seen the other responses to Slayr before I posted. They all have their merits as well.)

Tony Bandle 9 years, 11 months ago

The four seniors next year:

1] Jeff will develope into a Monster with one more off-season with Huddy, another year with Danny and banging butts with Zach, Jamari, Perry, Landon [even if he redshirts], etc.

2] The true Elijah will emerge from the shadow of Tyshawn and become the Basketball Lightning Bolt we all know he is capable of.

3] Kevin's feet will catch up with his body thus allowing a passible defender to become the Irresistable Scoring Force that burns within him.

4] And finally, Travis, the Silent Assassin, will lead be example, by effort, by sheer fearlessness and force of will and become the heart and soul of one of Bill's truly talented teams.

Everybody, enjoy this season and it's surprises but next season...buckle your chin straps and tighten your selt belts because, next season...we make history!!!!

Alohahawk 9 years, 11 months ago

<p> nominated Releford for "Perfomance of the Week". You can vote for him against the other nominees on their NCAA site. Currently, he has received 20% of the vote. The leader, if I remember correctly, is Royce White (vs Texas Tech) with about 67%.

Also, on ESPN's recruiting page, under "Sportsnation" section and the headline, "No One Will Know", 25 of the top recruits were given a survey with about a dozen questions asking them, anonymously, about tactics which were used to recruit them to different colleges. Included were questions about women, and about if they were ever offered money and if they would take it, if offered. Highly enlightening.

Micky Baker 9 years, 11 months ago

Releford would have probably gotten the National Player of the Week, if there was such a thing.

Jeeveshawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Good for Travis. He also got national player of week according to

Also Tyshawn has played alot better vs OU than he usually does. I think he got about 2 to's. If he learns to score less points but also get less turnovers, he should eventually be able to keep his turnovers limmited and get almost as many points as he used to.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago


It is scary sometimes how board rats interpret clear assertions.

You are so right.

Has anyone ever averaged 20ppg for Self in his tenure?

Maybe Simien?

I can't think of anyone else.

Jeeveshawk 9 years, 10 months ago

No one has averaged 20ppg over the course of a season, but their are a few players who have averaged 20 at one point in the season (usually very early on).

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