Friday, October 31, 2008

KU, MU hoops rookies blossoming quickly

Travis Releford

Travis Releford


Kansas City Pump N Run basketball coach L.J. Goolsby will be watching the Kansas University-Missouri home-and-home series with great interest this season.

"I plan to be at both of those (games). I'll probably come to the Kansas game (in Allen Fieldhouse) and sit behind the KU bench and go to the Missouri game (in Mizzou Arena) and sit behind the Missouri bench," Goolsby said Thursday.

Four of his former Pump N Run AAU graduates (Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed, Travis Releford and Conner Teahan) play for KU, while three (Marcus Denmon, Leo Lyons and Steve Moore) toil for Missouri.

If recent performances are any indication, Releford and Denmon just might emerge as two of the top freshmen in the Big 12.

Releford, 6-foot-5 out of Roeland Park's Bishop Miege High, scored 25 points off 10-of-11 shooting while playing 26 minutes in KU's one-point victory over Carleton University over Labor Day weekend in Canada. He was KU's leading scorer on the trip at 14.3 ppg in three games.

Denmon, 6-3 out of K.C. Hogan Prep, erupted for 36 points off 14-of-17 shooting, including six of seven three-pointers, in Wednesday's Black-Gold intrasquad in Columbia, Mo.

"It definitely shows what they are capable of doing," Goolsby said of the duo who "were always competitive in practice. If we ever wanted to amp up practice we'd have those two guard each other.

"I think Marcus will play this year. Travis will play this year. Marcus will score. When he catches fire, he's as good as it comes. He can score in bunches. He'll surprise some people. He's one of those kids driven to be successful," Goolsby noted.

"Travis will fill up the stat sheet across the board. He'll have triple-doubles."

Goolsby believes Releford will be an asset on defense starting from Game One.

"Travis has always been a tremendous defender. It's why coaches love him," Goolsby said. "He does so many little things well. Travis had a knack ... he always wanted to guard the best players. He's got great instincts on the defensive end, great lateral movement.

"He's ahead of his years. It'll be fun to watch his development. KU winning the championship motivates him to want to make that happen with Tyrel and the other guys. They really want it."

KU coach Bill Self agrees Releford someday may be a lock down defender.

"He has enough natural athleticism to play anywhere right away," Self said. "He can be a high-major defender with his ability to slide, his strength. He's ahead of the game in some areas."

Pump N Run is sending another player to Mizzou next season. Point guard Michael Dixon of Lee's Summit (Mo.) West recently chose the Tigers over California, Oklahoma, Arizona and Purdue.

Other Pump N Run players on major college teams: Chris Balham, Nebraska; Casey Crawford, Colorado and Johnny Coy, Arizona State.

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Withey to leave Zona: Arizona freshman center Jeff Withey has decided to transfer, UA officials said Thursday. WIthey, 6-10 from San Diego, first committed to Louisville last year, then decommitted and signed with Arizona. He also considered KU, Texas, Boston College and Washington. Withey - he averaged 20.8 points, 13 rebounds, 7.3 blocks and 4.1 assists as a senior at Horizon High - has yet to indicate schools he's now considering.

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Cheek cuts two: Dominic Cheek, a 6-foot-5 senior from St. Anthony High in Jersey City, N.J., has eliminated Indiana and Seton Hall from his list of schools, reports. He has visited KU and Villanova and will travel to Pitt on Nov. 7 and Memphis on Nov. 14. He will visit Rutgers at a yet to be determined date.

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Mokeski in NBADL: Former KU center Paul Mokeski on Thursday was named assistant coach for the Anaheim Arsenal of the NBA Developmental League. Mokeski and Arsenal head coach Sam Vincent were on the staff of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats last season.

"Sam and I have worked together at the highest level. We've gone through a draft together, a training camp, a preseason, and an 82-game regular season," Mokeski said. "All of that experience puts us ahead of the curve because we already know each other so well."

Mokeski's 16-year professional coaching career has included stints with the Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Fort Worth Flyers, and several CBA and USBL teams. Mokeski was a two-time all-Big Eight player at KU in the late 1970s.

Mokeski's son, Mike, is a 6-9 senior at Baker University. His son, Bryan, is a 7-1 junior at Newman University.


Larry Smith 14 years, 1 month ago

Wilt had 2 triple doubles unofficially. Aaron Miles has come the closest. 10 points, 9 assists and 9 steals against Iowa State in 03.

bmkjayhawk 14 years, 1 month ago

I know this doesn't answer the triple-double question, but does everyone remember against Depaul (last December) when Mario Chalmers had 12 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 steals? What a line for a guard, or anyone for that matter.

justanotherfan 14 years, 1 month ago

Triple doubles are hard to come by. I could see Mario Little putting up a 14 pt, 11 reb, 5 ast, 4 steal night, which is impressive, but not triple double.I do think that if someone gets a triple double off this team it will be Tyshawn. He does everything well. He can score, pass, rebound, etc. I could see him stuffing the stat sheet for a triple double before his time in Lawrence is done.

ShepHawk 14 years, 1 month ago

I don't think that Wall is afraid of competition. He just has to make the smart choice for himself and his family. If the smart choice is to go to a school where he is guaranteed playing time, than so be it.Nobody knows what is going on in these kids lives or why they make the decisions that they make. We get to live with their choice for 2-4 years, but it is something they must live with their whole lives. Why rush them?We should all respect that, and be happy with the players that end up coming to KU.

kvskubball 14 years, 1 month ago

KUFan,Wall's comment seemed (to me) to be at most, an 'excuse' to not come to KU. I agree, it didn't sound like something someone who is supposed to be the #1 recruit, would say. If it were me I'd want to say, 'Yeah, bring ole Elijah over here, and I'll plant him on the court from sun-up to sun-down, and then some!'Just a note, I never had the talent, but I definitely had the competitve attitude. If you were good, you'd beat me, but I'd make you work as hard as I could! So I definitely agree that this comment was weird coming from such a talented player.

NH_JHawk 14 years, 1 month ago

Truth 08 - Over the last few weeks I've been reading your posts about Xavier Henry. I'm sure glad that you continue to provide us with the proper perspective on what he is going know, after you also having made the biggest decision of your life under the scrutiny and pressure of the public eye. You did this while receiving tons of opinionated feedback from people all over the country who thought they knew what was best for you. And, not to mention you made this important decision at the tender age of 18. At least you, out of anyone on this site, understand that some people out there judge unfairly and say hurtful things even though they know absolutely nothing about you as a person. I respect that about you.

thehoopcenter 14 years, 1 month ago

No wonder no one but Pump N Run ever wins the KU tournament!

Don Everett 14 years, 1 month ago

Who gives a crap about what the tigger players are doing? They are second or third class to the Kansas kids.

KUFan90 14 years, 1 month ago

mojayhawk - it was Wall's response to EJ's signing, not X. Wall basically said he was concerned about EJ signing with KU because it would mean competing for minutes, implying that hurt KUs chances of getting Wall. If you are as good as your press clippings indicate, you should be confident enough to play for the school you want, not base your decision on where other high profile recruits commit. Wall's comments made it sound like he was scared to commit somewhere that he might have to compete for a spot.

Hawklin 14 years, 1 month ago

And to those of you discussing Walls comment... Why not include this comment by him?"I can't just let one person making a decision effect what decision I'm going to make on my schools," he said of Johnson. "Just because they commit there doesn't mean that's going to stop me from looking at them."

Timmay97 14 years, 1 month ago

I think KU should start recruiting Lebron's future son. :-)

Chris Shaw 14 years, 1 month ago

Mountainhawk: Where are you getting your information? Sherron nor Cole is even listed in the 1st or second round of any of the top NBA "Mock" draft websites. Yes, that could always change, but I still don't see Collins or Aldrich leaving after this year. Collins may have an outside shot depending on his increased role as a playmaker and scorer, but cole will not be leaving after this year. Just another thing, Teehan isn't on scholarship.

MountainHawk 14 years, 1 month ago

On ESPN's top 100 NBA prospects Cole is listed as Lottery to early/mid first round. Sherron is listed as mid first to early second. I havent looked at any other sites regarding this. Buford Brechard and Juenemann are walk ons, The rest of our roster fills out the 13 scholorships, tht includes Teehan Reed and yes even Kleinimann

Hawklin 14 years, 1 month ago

There has been ongoing rumors for years that Roger would pay Brady Morningstars tuition for the better of the team.NBA/professional chances with Cole, Collins and the Twins.Transfers always a possibility when you bring in so many at once.Any answer you get is not going to be fact. Just know Coach Self is in fact recruiting 1 to 2 more for 09. And he is in the know.

MountainHawk 14 years, 1 month ago

Check out ESPN's updated rookie top 50, Arthur, Chalmers, and Rush are 4,5,and 9 respectivley. More hawks dominating the league!

justanotherfan 14 years, 1 month ago

MountainHawk brings up a good point. Everyone has talked about Sherron jumping after this year, but the truth is, if Cole plays well, he could be a lottery pick. 12 points, 12 boards, 2 blocks a game is a very forseeable line for him, especially when you figure he's going to play 28 minutes a game. He's a rebounding machine. He may grab 14 a game. If he does that, NBA folks will notice. Couple that for a full year with what they saw him do against Hansborough last year, and you have to legitimately believe Cole is a first round pick. Notice I said IF he does that all year. If he doesn't, he's almost certain to be back in Lawrence next year.So it's definitely a smart move to go after another player. We already will have a 4 big rotation next season with Thomas Robinson, plus the twins and Quintrell Thomas, who will likely contribute much more as a soph than he will this season. In the backcourt we don't necessarily lose anyone, but with injuries bugging Little and Appleton this year, plus the potential that Sherron jumps, or we lose a guy to transfer, another perimeter guy (especially a high talent guy like Cheek or Henry) is ALWAYS welcome.

MountainHawk 14 years, 1 month ago

I stand corrected, I thought we were back to 13 starting this year.

kdurham07 14 years, 1 month ago

I thought X was going to announce today. What happened?

Chris Shaw 14 years, 1 month ago

Can someone help me out with numbers here? I'm struggling with this component of our potential upcoming 2009-2010 recruiting class. We currently get 13 Scholarships as a Div I basketball program? Now, last year we only got 12 because of our sanction and recruiting violation. Is that correct? Right now, we have 12 scholarship players (including Matt K) which leaves us one scholarship for next year. Is this correct? If both of those scenarios are correct (Please correct me if I'm wrong so I fully understand), when Matt K graduates that would leave us 2 full scholarships for next year. We've already signed Elijah Johnson and Thomas Robinson so where are we getting the extra scholarship? I'm also assumming that both Aldrich and Collins and everybody else on the team will stay put and not leave for the NBA draft next year. If that does happen how are we going to sign Cheek, Henry, Snaer, and or Stephenson next year? We'll sign one! I can't see any of that group giving up a scholarship.

TheTruth08 14 years, 1 month ago

Dominic Cheek is going to want to come to KU, but Mike Snear is going to beat him to the punch. Xavier Henry can go to Memphis, UMKC or Oklahoma City Community College for all I care. John Wall can go with him. After his response to Elijah Johnson's signing, I've lost all respect for him as a competitor.

MountainHawk 14 years, 1 month ago

As far as Cole's NBA prospect is concerned i think he's already listed somewhere around 15-20 on most draft boards, that being said a lot can change in a college season. I wouldnt be surprized to see Cole stay onother year even if he has a great season. If we put together a decent tourny run, and i think we will, we would probobly be poised for another NC run next year even with our current roster plus EJ and TRob. Cole may decide to stick around for another ring.

Francois 14 years, 1 month ago

Everyone who submitted a comment in response to this article should be commended for not referring to scholarships as "schollies."

kcmostwanted 14 years, 1 month ago

You guys are crazy!!! Doing the exact same thing that the Media does... using parts of a quote and running away w/ it...Thanks for clearing that up Hawklin, you beat me to it.Believe me, We want John Wall and X. I think Wall has more of a chance to be a 1 and done player. This kid is long athletic and blazing fast. Think of Derrick Rose but longer (although not as strong).E. Johnson will be a great addition to the program but he's still very raw and will hopefully stick around for at least two years. This kid is going to be a stud and can be a lock-down defender w/ his athleticism (kind of reminds me of the UCLA kid Russel Westbrook). If possible, we want to bring in high character 1-and-done players once in awhile. If we're successful that just means future success in recruiting 5 star players.

Jaydub 14 years, 1 month ago

Thanks Hawklin, Wall doesn't seem to be afraid of competition. Plus, Wall will play a lot of minutes wherever he goes.

mojayhawk 14 years, 1 month ago

I didn't see X's response to Elijah Johnson's signing. What did he say?

JayCeph 14 years, 1 month ago

I think its great that some thing Travis will start collecting triple-doubles as a Jayhawk. Can anyone tell me who the last player for KU was that actually did that? ...just ONE triple double?

MountainHawk 14 years, 1 month ago

Bill Self knows exactly what he is doing, the man is a wizard. He's already fufilled his scholorship alotment for next year assuming nobady bolts for the league. Sherron and Cole, however, are likely lottery picks pending productive seasons and it wouldnt be a shock if one or two of the sensational seven are tapped in the draft as well. If everyone remains in college and we get commits from one or two more quality recruits its possible that maybe Morningstar or Teehan/Reed are reduced to walk on status or maybe even transfer to another program ala Michah Downs and Alex Galindo when Self brought in Rush and Wright. Lots of scenarios and it will be interestig to see what pans out, no matter what its going to be a treat to whatch self work his magic and build another championship team. Remember, getting there is half the fun even if the ride gets rough from time to time.Rock Chalk

justanotherfan 14 years, 1 month ago

Oh, and for the record, no Jayhawk has EVER had an official triple double.Wilt had some unofficial ones, but this was before blocks were counted as an official stat, so they don't technically count. Still, no triple doubles for Lovelette, White, Manning, Vaughn, Pierce, Raef, Gooden, Collison, Simien, etc.Mario's line mentioned above is among the closest anyone has gotten.

kcmostwanted 14 years, 1 month ago

Matt is on Scholarship?? I think you guys are missing the point...Shouldn't it just be:1. Sherron2. Cole3. Brady4. Tyrel Reed5. Quintrell6. Marcus7. Markief8. Tyshawn9. Travis10. Mario 11. TyroneThere are 11 players on Scholarship this year which leaves 2 For next year. One for Elijah and the other for Thomas. That Makes 13 total scholarships.Conner and Matt are not scholarship players.Brady is a Scholarship player but I believe it is conditional.If Sherron leaves, that gives us another scholarshipAnd if Cole leaves, that's another one.So ultimately, we could have 5 scholarships for next year (2 which are spoken for already). I believe this is correct.

Chris Shaw 14 years, 1 month ago

Okay I found the article. Teehan is not on scholarshp and we only have 12 scholarship players on the roster including Matt K for this year. It will finally bump up to 13 next year because of our "Self Inflicted" probation from Al Bohl.

JayCeph 14 years, 1 month ago

justanother... right-o! As a result of this, I wonder if Travis will finally be the first or if history will continue to mount.

Robert Brock 14 years, 1 month ago

Cheek to Nova, Snaer to Florida State, Henry to Kansas.

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