Kurtis Townsend, assistant coach to Bill Self since 2004, is such a nice guy it’s difficult for recruits to tell him no, which makes him very good at that part of his job.
The former Western Kentucky point guard, whose brother Ray played for John Wooden’s final national-championship team at UCLA in 1975, brings plenty to the staff as a coach as well.
Credit Townsend with finding a nice fit for third-year sophomore Jamari Traylor to study. Townsend had video coordinator Jeff Forbes prepare clips of Kenneth Faried for Traylor to watch. Faried set the NCAA career rebounding record at Morehead State and is in his third season with the Denver Nuggets.
“He has the amazing motor,” Traylor said of Faried, a first-round pick in the 2011 NBA draft. “Body type similar to mine. I think I can be a player like that if I just want it. Coach Townsend tells me all the time, ‘Watch that guy. Play like that guy.’ We’re about the same size, undersized power forwards.”
Faried is listed at 6-foot-8, 228 pounds, Traylor 6-8, 220.
“I watch videos of Thomas (Robinson), all the bigs, even the Morris twins (Marcus and Markieff),” Traylor said. “I watch Kevin Young, hustle plays. That’s what I’m going to look forward to doing this year, be like Kevin, bring some energy plays. I think I’m a little more athletic than Kevin, so I think I can definitely help the team.”
He certainly did in the two-game exhibition season against in-state D-2 opponents. In a combined 30 minutes, Traylor made 7 of 7 field goals and has seven offensive rebounds (12 overall), 17 points, three assists, a steal and a block without turning the ball over.