Over the course of this season, I have been thinking quite a bit about the construction of this team. When I looked at the squad in the Fall, the thing that I was most worried about was the lack of a true #1 scorer.
Every basketball team needs a number one scorer. This is the guy that gets the ball when everyone knows that the ball is going to him, and then he scores anyway. At least that’s what the best number one scorers do. But it’s more than that. Being the number one scorer is a responsibility. It’s knowing that you absolutely have to get your offensive game going every night. It’s knowing that even if you aren’t shooting the ball well, you need to get to the FT line, or get inside for buckets, or something because you HAVE to put points on the board. I worried that KU didn’t have that.
The best number one scorers have been number ones all their lives. Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabbar, Bird, Jordan, Iverson, Bryant, they all were number one scorers from their high school (and in some cases earlier) days on.
This KU team didn’t have that. Robinson was a rebounder/enforcer in high school. Yeah, he got his points, but his meal ticket in high school (and even now) is rebounding and bringing that D.C. toughness to the table. Tyshawn Taylor averaged about 10 points a game as a senior because he was the lead distributor on a D-1 talent laden roster. Jeff Withey was always just the tallest guy. Elijah Johnson was a guy that could score in bunches, but he was considered more of a combo guard than a true scorer.
And then I remembered that one guy on the team had been a number one scorer. One guy had gone for over 40 points as a freshman in a j.v. game while in high school. One guy had been the guy that they gave the ball to even when everyone knew he was getting the ball – Travis Releford.
It’s been a long time coming for Travis. Barely playing, then redshirted, then battling injuries, and now, finally healthy and at the top of his game. Congratulations Travis. And hopefully, the best is yet to come.