Friday, June 28, 2013

Undrafted Travis Releford, Elijah Johnson join NBA summer squads


Former Kansas University guard/small forward Travis Releford, who was not selected in Thursday’s NBA Draft, will be playing summer league basketball for both the Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets, Releford told the Journal-World on Friday.

Indiana will compete in the Orlando Summer League from July 7-12. Denver will play in the Vegas Summer League from July 12-22.

Also, Releford confirmed a report he has agreed to a one-year deal with Okapi Aalstar, a pro team in Belgium. The news was reported on the Okapi Aalstar team’s website as well as and

“I have a deal with a team there (Belgium), but I have an NBA escape,” Releford said. “Meaning if I do go there, I can leave at any point if a team wanted me to.”

Training camp in Belgium opens in August. Kansas City native Releford should have a good idea if the Nuggets or Pacers are serious about his chances of making the team by then.

Former KU combo guard Elijah Johnson, meanwhile, will play summer league ball for the Los Angeles Clippers, Johnson’s agent, Stephen Pina of ASM Sports, confirmed on Twitter on Friday. The Clippers will play in the Vegas summer league in Johnson’s hometown.


kellerman411 9 years, 5 months ago

If Elijah is in top form, the Clippers will be shocked that he wasn't drafted. If he is healthy, I guarantee he makes a team.

Michael Auchard 9 years, 5 months ago

Agreed, JD. Better body, better attitude, better defense, better handle (comparatively, for position), better mid-range game. Solid 3-point collegiate-level shooter ... it's not even close. Releford has a moderate/minimal chance for the League, mainly due to his D. EJ? Sorry, nope.

Robbk1066 9 years, 5 months ago

uh no... Euro bench warmer. Travis is decent but EJ no way.

texashawk10 9 years, 5 months ago

EJ isn't a good enough shooter as a 2 and he isn't a good enough decision maker as a point to make the NBA even if healthy.

kellerman411 9 years, 5 months ago

Haha okay, I have my screen shot of your comments.

Robbk1066 9 years, 5 months ago

lol, heck I will autograph it with my picture Keller, does not change the fact EJ will never make it onto a NBA team. He does not possess the physical nor mental capabilities to be a player in that league.

texashawk10 9 years, 5 months ago

Kellerman, what is the most important attribute a 2 must have at the NBA level? It is traditionally the ability to be a good shooter. EJ was in the 40% range as a shooter during his time at KU. I'm not talking about 40% from 3, but 40% from the field. He was only about a 33% shooter from deep. You also have the injury concerns about his knees which have drastically diminished his athleticism. Early on in his KU career, he was able to drive on a lot people and get to the rim pretty easily. But as his career went on and his knees got worse, he lost the ability to drive on even average players in college and draw fouls on them so how would be able to draw fouls on NBA players who are some of the quickest athletes on the planet? I'm not knocking his heart or effort, but injuries have greatly diminished his athleticism, and he's never been a good shooter so unfortunately for EJ, that equals someone who is either Euro bound or D-League bound if he wants to stay stateside.

rover 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm probably a little bias, but I think Travis is a better player than a lot of the players that were drafted. Hope he makes a team!

Robert Brock 9 years, 5 months ago

Belgium, eh? Man, I would play there just for the beer!

Lee Henry 9 years, 5 months ago

Travis is a working mans player....he'll make it for a while.....EJ ?...depends on the european league if they need him...........

Lee Henry 9 years, 5 months ago

Travis is a working mans player....he'll make it for a while.....EJ ?...depends on the european league if they need him...........

And Kevin Young should play a few years overseas....then get into coaching......

Preston Dwiggins 9 years, 5 months ago

I could not agree more 1958. If either of the two (TR or EJ) hit the NBA, it will be TR only for a brief time. Meanwhile, Young needs to work hard on shooting and head across the pond. I'm still not sure what happened to EJ last year other than he was playing out of position...

TommieSmithElbow 9 years, 5 months ago

umc, I know that you are just throwing it out as a POSSIBLE explanation, but can we stop with the surmised excuses of EJ's poor play being because he was "out of position"? Once you bring the ball down and work around the key and do some probing, it turns into 5 KU basketball players playing fundamental ball. Throwing poor, ill-advised passes, not getting yourself into position, not guarding well, and above all, just making EXTREMELY poor basketball decisions is far beyond what position you play. If anything, perhaps we could say that EJ couldn't handle responsibilities, and his role during his previous years didn't expose that. We have had MANY KU players who have had to move around position wise without the disastrous results of this past year. It's about basic fundamentals. Just a thought.

TommieSmithElbow 9 years, 5 months ago

P.S. By "disastrous results", I mean EJ's play for much of the season, especially the crowning Michigan disaster, where just switching out for Calvin Rayford would have been enough to get us a win. Overall, I think we had a exceptional year, especially given that much of the time, we really only had 3 players showing up on most nights. Whatever differences Bill could have made in the last game, that he even got this talent group this far, winning the Big 12, etc., speaks volumes for his coaching and the outstanding efforts of Jeff, Ben, and Travis. Which makes us so enthusiastic anticipating the talents of this coming year! Rock Chalk!

Preston Dwiggins 9 years, 5 months ago

I agree Tommie. I like EJ, but something went awry his senior season. Looking forward is a lot of fun right now : )

JakeBarnes 9 years, 5 months ago

You are very kind about the previous years. He suffered from being over-hyped even by the coach.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

The comments on EJ are fair and unfair.

First, and I was dead wrong on this, EJ was never a point guard. Back when he was a freshman, I argued that he should replace TT. When EJ had that nice stretch his sophomore season when TT was suspended, I thought EJ should have stayed at the point. I definitely thought EJ would have a great senior season running the show. Wrong. Self obviously made the right call not handing him the keys to the car until he really had to (and even then it didn't really work).

Second, though, in hindsight, we all know the best answer .. EJ should have simply been given the 2 spot as sophomore and left alone. This is where Self made a mistake. EJ was a two guard and played best at that spot. I really think EJ would have developed better, and played better. We saw his first full time action in 2011-12 .. not perfect. But he never got the second season in that job at the 2. We did see him put us on his back multiple times is 2011-12, including crucial NCAA tourney stretches. I really think had he had 3 seasons at the 2, he would have developed much differently.

Unfortunately, his career here never had any continuity, no set role he could rely upon. If there was ever a player that one could argue that Self mismanaged to the player's detriment, it was EJ. And he mismanaged EJ to the the team's deteriment by not making the hard choice late last season .. playing Tharpe over EJ at the point. Self chose to respect his senior.

A lot of it was circumstance with EJ. Self clearly felt that playing Reed and Brady over EJ was best for the team. That was Self's call. All I know is that with EJ at the 2, we went to the title game. EJ never got run out of the gym like some did (see VCU).

Do we lose to VCU with TT, EJ, and Releford starting at the 1, 2, and 3, getting 32 minutes each? No freaking way. 2011-12 proved unequivocally that EJ and Releford were a better duo than Reed and Morningstar. Self didn't/wouldn't make the move. And perhaps it was the same reason he didn't got to Tharpe this past season over EJ .. deference to the senior.

EJ was a square peg in a round hole at PG, and he only got fit into his correct slot for one full season.

texashawk10 9 years, 5 months ago

I respect your opinion HEM and know you're not changing your opinion on this issue, but I cannot disagree with you more about the EJ/Brady debate. EJ was a terrible shooter throughout his entire career and couldn't get to the FT line to save his life (the FT shooting is a push though because Brady didn't go to the line very often either). I'll give you EJ was a better defender than Brady when healthy. But to guarantee KU beats VCU with with EJ and Releford is not a line I'm willing to cross. The reality is that Josh Selby's drama (suspension and injury) is what made EJ's PT erratic during the season, not Brady. At the same time, Brady and Reed both had a bad shooting nights against VCU, stuff like that happens. EJ was 3-11 against UNC in the Elite 8 in 2012 so what happens if KU had lost that game? Does EJ's horrible shooting get blamed like Brady and Reed did for the VCU game?

Fact is, EJ was a player who had a couple of big moments in the 2012 tournament (like Brady in the 2011 tournament) and when EJ had his stinker of a game in the Elite 8, other players stepped up enough to help KU win whereas that didn't happen for Brady and Reed against VCU. Look at some of the other stats from that VCU game. Markeiff had 8 turnovers, KU as a team shot 33%, KU as a team was 2-21 from 3, KU as a team was 15-28 from the FT line. You can try and justify the VCU loss as Brady's fault, but the fact is that game was a total team loss and not just Brady and playing EJ wasn't going to change those other stats enough to guarantee KU wins that game.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

You know, just my opinion. You make some very good points.

My opinion is and always has been that if Brady never was on the KU roster, our final product each and every season would have been better. I am bitter on this. I watched Self place his faith in Brady three straight seasons, and two of those seasons (MSU and VCU), Brady had horrible games when we were eliminated; and against UNI, although Self had played him huge minutes leading up to that game, Self benched him.

My position on the VCU "experience" was not that it was Brady's fault at all. He played hard and gave it his best effort. But that it was coach Self's fault for placing so much reliance on a guy who was better suited to be a 10-12 minute guy off the bench.

To answer you question on EJ and the UNC game, yes, he might have been blamed. He was blamed for the Michigan loss this season. But we did not lose the UNC game, right? Brady doesn't get "blamed" for poor performances when we won, either.

I know, it's a tough issue and many of us are polarized beyond repair (me). If a national title wasn't hanging in the balance, it would be easier to let go.

I respect your opinion as well and the burden is on me to just "let it go." Hard to do.

JakeBarnes 9 years, 5 months ago

TT was the big difference in all this. Without him we'd have been sunk. The team last year had a Withey and Mclemore duo that got real help from Releford and Young. With a few exception EJ didn't bear the load. He really was hurt by the hype. At last TT gets his props.

Jeff Suther 9 years, 5 months ago

Although the chances of Travis catching on with an NBA team are slim to none, I do think he has what it takes to contribute to a NBA team

burgler09 9 years, 5 months ago

I think Releford should and will get picked up by the NBA. He is an impressive player, and was the guy making most of things happen at KU.

texashawk10 9 years, 5 months ago

Travis Releford is a great fit for what the Pacers like to do and I do think he has a pretty good chance of being on their 15 man roster this season and could be on the active 12 man roster by the end of the season.

Ben Berglund 9 years, 5 months ago

Hopefully Trav can join Shady here in Denver. That would be sweet.

DSommersby 9 years, 5 months ago

Rock Chalk! Best wishes to these great Jayhawks! Represent, stay healthy, do your best, make some noise, and have fun!

Michael Luby 9 years, 5 months ago

Yah, I am pulling for Trav to land a spot with Denver or the Pacers. Even if he doesn't hes got a gig in a beautiful country, playing basketball for pay! Sweet sweet deal.

Joe Baker 9 years, 5 months ago

Yeah- great KU comments. I can handle the EJ criticisms. He made a really bad decision by passing to Tharpe out on the perimeter, ultimately losing to Michigan. I also believe the idiot drama and post comments of McGary were blown completely out of proportion. It's all water under the bridge. EJ will be the scapegoat for many angry KU fans. Let's not forget the great things he did for KU. This is a kid that sold out to KU from the very beginning. I loved his attitude early from his frosh season through his knee injury.

The knee surgery isn't what KU and Self claimed. I really believe that knee issue wasn't routine and was worse than we all realized. It changed EJ in many ways. He wasn't the same. I agree with most of HEMs comments. BMorningstar and Reed were the safe players during the VCU game. texashawk is completely right, Morningstar and Reed were not the players of EJ at that time. Early EJ was the EJ we all expected and never got him after his knees. I think EJ and Rel against VCU's athleticism would've made a big difference.

Oh well, looking forward to this season. It's going to be fun.

Joe Baker 9 years, 5 months ago

Here's to EJ and Rel landing somewhere. They deserve it.

kay_you 9 years, 5 months ago

I hope they can both make NBA rosters but at the very least they should be able to make a decent living in Europe. Wish I could make a decent living in Europe.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

All this talk of EJ, a 5star who struggled at point at KU for many reasons, playing D-league; 4-star Tyshawn, great PG one season barely hanging on in the L; and 4-5 star and KU great Sherron, with no place to play, really makes me sweat relying on Naa and Mason for point guards.

These are three star guys and one is a freshman. Neither one has a prayer guarding all leaguers, much less a future lottery pick in Marcus Smart!

Self has to seriously consider Selden and Wiggins for some PG duty, or we are going to get outclassed at the point physically.

REHawk 9 years, 5 months ago

I am intrigued by Bill Self's options going into 2013-14. Would love to connect with his summer mindset regarding lineup possibilities. I would imagine that he will stick with Tharpe as long as he can; but the newcomers had best arrive with open views of alternate schemes and multiple playing positions. Probably time to study film of Selden, especially. To date, his interview responses portray a recruit who functions beneath a steady head. He strikes me as a fella who laces 'em up early and steps onto the court with focus and determination.

Michael Luby 9 years, 5 months ago

good point Jbate. I think he absolutely will have to do that. Both Wigs and Selden have the handles, size and talent to relieve Naa at the PG.
We cant discount the possibility that Frankamp will get exposed to gamma rays on his way to practice and become Hulkish before late night.

KansasComet 9 years, 5 months ago

Elijah Johnson earned his degree from the University of Kansas. He was a great student athlete and I am proud of this young man.

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