UMKC's Michael Gholston Jr. relishes reunion with best friend Travis Releford

Thursday, January 6, 2011



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Kansas defeated UMKC, 99-52 on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 99-52 victory over UMKC on Jan. 5, 2011.

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UMKC junior Michael Gholston Jr. didn’t log much time on the court during Wednesday’s 99-52 men’s basketball loss at No. 3 Kansas University.

But the 13 minutes he did get were minutes he won’t soon forget.

“It was great. It was like old times, just like back in high school, playing AAU ball,” said Gholston, who faced former teammate and best friend Travis Releford, a KU forward. “I love Travis like my brother, and I definitely had a little extra oomph about me.”

Moments after checking into the game for the first time, Gholston, who stands just 6-foot tall — compared with Releford’s 6-6 — found himself matched up on his buddy. As Releford danced around and tried to shake loose, Gholston hounded him relentlessly.

Even when he was on the bench, Gholston found his eyes fixed on his childhood friend. Good thing. Releford played one of his most electric games of the season, finishing with 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting, 2-of-3 from three-point land. That line included an eye-popping, windmill jam with just under five minutes remaining that brought back plenty of memories for Gholston.

“It was a great dunk,” Gholston said. “ I’ve seen it a million times before, but it was nice.”

Though the theme of their first college match-up was competitive — as evidenced by Releford saying, “I gave him a hug and then we both kind of said, ‘We’re about to get after it.’” — the two Kansas City natives couldn’t help but set aside some of their killer instincts to smile at the fortunes of a former teammate.

“Honestly, you do a little bit of both,” Gholston said. “You cheer for your team, you cheer for him. It’s kind of hard.”

Releford agreed, saying: “I’m not gonna lie, it was the same for me. When I was on the bench, I was kind of cheering for him. We grew up together. He’s my best friend. Of course I’m gonna wish the best for him.”