Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hustle guy Jamari Traylor builds toward breakout season

Kansas forward improving offense as junior year approaches

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor grabs an offensive rebound over Eastern Kentucky guard Orlando Williams during the second half on Friday, March 21, 2014 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor grabs an offensive rebound over Eastern Kentucky guard Orlando Williams during the second half on Friday, March 21, 2014 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.


The Jamari Traylor who scored a career-high 17 points and grabbed a personal-best 14 rebounds in Kansas University’s NCAA Tournament victory over Eastern Kentucky last March looked like a guy who might contend for All-Big 12 honors his junior or senior season.

“I don’t know. I’m not really thinking about that kind of stuff. I feel it did open some eyes,” Traylor, a 6-8, 220-pound red-shirt junior forward from Chicago, said Tuesday after working as a counselor at Cole Aldrich’s basketball camp in Robinson Gymnasium.

He followed that breakout game with just three points and five boards in a loss to Stanford.

“I hope people respect me more coming into this year. I’ve been working a lot more on my offensive game. I’m going to be a lot more comfortable out there,” added Traylor, who averaged 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds while logging 16.1 minutes a game his sophomore campaign.

The ultra-athletic Traylor — he says his latest vertical measurement is “about 40, no lower than a 38” — may be playing on both the inside and outside during the 2014-15 season.

“He (Bill Self) has me working with the guards sometimes — me and Perry (Ellis, 6-8 junior),” Traylor said. “We’ve been working on everything. It depends what he wants to do with us. We can go small. We can go big with some guys at the small forward position. He can have one of us come in (at small forward).”

This year, the Jayhawks do not have a 7-footer on the roster, like lane-cloggers Joel Embiid and Jeff Withey of recent seasons past.

“It’s going to be a lot different this year. We’re going to have to make adjustments,” Traylor said. “We’ve got a good coach, so we’re going to make adjustments.”

If Traylor does build on the Eastern Kentucky game and emerges as a huge offensive threat — he’s been working on his jumper a lot this summer — he could hear more talk about his pro potential. A Chicago blogger spurred some discussion on Twitter recently by mentioning Traylor as a sleeper for the 2015 NBA Draft.

“I mean, I think so,” Traylor said, asked if he believes he has NBA potential. “If I don’t have faith in myself, then nobody else will. I’m happy guys recognize me a little bit. I’m moving forward to get there.

“If I’m doing well enough, I will,” he added of leaving early. “I’m not going to rush anything. I’m not really even thinking about that now. I’m thinking about the season. If success comes, that may happen. If it happens, I’m blessed with the opportunity.”

He’s heard some comparisons.

“When I go in to watch film with my coaches, a guy they want me to play like ... they want me to bring energy like Kenneth Faried (6-8, Denver Nuggets),” Traylor said. “Guys my type and body size and athleticism like Dennis Rodman, those kind of guys. If I do that kind of stuff, I can help my team win a whole lot. I watch a couple videos of crazy stuff he can do. I think I can do a lot of that,” he added of former NBA rebounding machine Rodman.

Traylor said he enjoyed working with free agent NBA center Aldrich Tuesday and playing pick-up games with him on Sunday.

“He’s big. You can’t really push him around like that. I play him like I do anybody else,” Traylor said of the 6-11, 250-pounder. “He was on my team most of the time.”


Kansas vs. Eastern Kentucky highlights (3-21-14)

More on Fourth flap

Traylor, who spent the Fourth of July holiday with teammates at a team barbecue, was involved in a mini-controversy earlier that day when he posted this message on Twitter: “Happy Independence Day! To a country built on lies, injustice and hypocrisy. ‘Freedom’ to all.”

He included a picture of a man crying with a flag hanging around his neck. Traylor was blasted by many KU fans on message boards for his initial social media comment.

A couple hours after his tweet, Traylor apologized with this tweet: “Please read this if I offended you & I apologize if you misinterpreted my message. ... Don’t get me wrong, I love where I live & there’s no place like it, but there are still injustices going on everyday. I’m sorry if I offended you but everyone has different lives & everyone can’t relate to mine just like I can’t fully relate to yours. I really appreciate the people who fight to protect us. I was just trying to show how things aren’t fully changed & I chose a strong picture to illustrate my thoughts. I just want to spend holidays with my dad who I feel is wrongly & unjustly imprisoned.”

Traylor’s dad, Jessie, is in prison in Indiana, serving a life sentence for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

“I wasn’t mad, I was tweeting about how I was feeling, my dad’s situation,” Traylor said Tuesday. “I don’t feel I lied about anything. Anytime you say things, everybody’s not going to be happy with what you say, but it’s just how it is. I had a couple people get some angry tweets back at me, but that’s life. No coaches are mad at me. They just wanted to know what I was thinking.”

Traylor indicated holidays are tough for him with his dad imprisoned in Indiana.

Asked if he wanted to say any more about the issue, he said: “No.”


Len Shaffer 7 years, 12 months ago

“Happy Independence Day! To a country built on lies, injustice and hypocrisy. ‘Freedom’ to all.”

What in that statement is not true? It's funny how many people want to just sugarcoat everything and not look at our true history. That doesn't mean you can't love this country, its ideals and what it stands for (when it's truly living up to those ideals). But let's face it: for most of its history, the American ideals haven't come close to matching the reality.

I give Traylor a lot of credit for having the courage to speak out about what he really feels.

Mel Clare 7 years, 12 months ago

How true! Most people do not know enough about our countries history and just how really crooked and deceiving and manipulating our founding fathers really were! They draft a Constitution based on "Freedoms" and "Rights" and MOST were slave owners. They talked about Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.............Yet did not want to pay their own taxes....................Kinda sounds like today's government officials.....................Doesn't it?

Kudos to Jamari......................

Doug Longstaff 7 years, 12 months ago

I don't know that it's fair to say "most" of the drafters of the Constitution drafters held slaves. A small majority of the delegates reportedly did not hold slaves (49% did, though). The principle contributing document to the Constitution was the Constitution of Massachusetts, drafted by John Adams, a staunch opponent of slavery. Of the "Committee of Five," who drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1776, only Jefferson held slaves (while professing to be morally opposed to slavery and included language to the point, later deleted).

We have to remember that this has been a process towards justice, and the wheels sometimes move slowly. Slavery of African natives and their descendants was legal in the British empire for 214 years (give or take). It was legal under United States law for 89. Been abolished for almost 150. We're still working towards perfection, and we won't ever get there--as long as governments continue to be made up of humans. But we're trying.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 12 months ago

The objective was to "form a more perfect Union" and the emphasis on created equal with certain rights. Add George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights.

Martin Luther King talked about cashing the check written by our founders. Traylor is a good kid, Considering Traylor's background and my teaching experiences in the CPS, I can appreciate where he might be coming from. Chicago's West and Southside's are a mess. I would love to hear Traylor's and Alexander's opinion's, experiences and aspirations, especially before representing the USA next summer.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 12 months ago

Agree Suzi, 60 shot, 9 dead in 72 hours of holiday this 4th in Chicago, mercy. Its a war zone here, it really is.

Not sure about the statement "built on lies, injustice and hypocrisy" being true. There certainly were deals, understandings, and agreements made to get everyone to vote on it, in any democracy that is the way Politics works. When it stops working that way we have what got now, gridlock. You want some fun follow the money in Washington its amazing how much control Lobbyist have in our country. Our government, our laws are living things. They change, they are shaped to how everything is working in our nation.

The best thing for his dad would be to get a very good lawyer retained to work on his case.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 12 months ago

He has a forum because he is on our team and a right as a citizen to say what he said. Was this the best thing he could do or say to help his father? Not really, lots of other things he could have said or posted might have been more helpful. Although his tweet was understandable, did it change anything with his fathers situation? Probably not. Were some people offended, yes ,but you cannot say anything in a pubic forum and not agitate somebody now a days, but he felt the need to apologize so he felt it was not such a great idea.

What if he said -

Happy 4th all. Wish I could be with my dad 2day. We have started a web site to aid his legal battle please check out the link below.Be safe!

I would have checked out the site, who knows maybe I can help. Right now all I know is he is unhappy about a few things with his dads case and is bitter about it.

Heck of player, looking forward to his play this upcoming season. Sorry about his dad.

Dan Burns 7 years, 12 months ago

This country was NOT built on lies, injustices and hypocrisy. Our history has been so manipulated in the last generation, it's mostly PC crap. Has their been injustices... absolutely. If you understood the life lived then and read old manuscripts and journals from our forefathers, or if you understood where they came from, your attitude would be much different. The concept establish was life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Many believe in entitlements (you owe it to me) and smoke'm if you got'm.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 12 months ago

Dan, just for discussion's sake, what would you say about the way the US Govt broke treaties and such with the Native Americans in the Old West period, a century after the noble ideas of the founding fathers? I'm not a Native American, tend to lean conservative, but just asking for sake of discussion.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 12 months ago

I don't care about his tweet because people tweet all the time. In the future, wait a minute before you hit send if you're worried about controversy. That being said, he's very athletic, can drive, and rebound. This year he needs to develop a consistent outside shot. I wouldn't be surprised if he starts getting draft talk if he can become more of a scoring threat.

Jerry Long 7 years, 12 months ago

The good thing is that, unlike a lot of places in this world, he can state his opinion and not be arrested for his trouble. I don't agree with him, but I certainly agree that he has as much right to his opinions as I do.

Jay Beakum 7 years, 12 months ago

Faried comparisons popped into my head during the E. Kentucky game. The tenacity and quickness that allows an undersized guy to produce as a PF. He might actually have more offensive moves than Faried right now.

Early candidate for Big 12, sixth man of the year.

Eliott Reeder 7 years, 12 months ago

"I watch a couple videos of crazy stuff he can do. I think I can do a lot of that,” he said of former NBA rebounding machine Dennis Rodman, adding: "In fact, I'm heading out to North Korea next week to kick it with Kim Jong Un for the rest of the summer."

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 12 months ago

Actually, out of all the guys on the KU roster, I have been deep down rooting for Jamari Traylor to succeed at whatever he is trying to--ever since I learned of his story. I thought it was a longshot in basketball, but hallelujah for Bill Self seeing something in Jamari, and that 17/14 performance vs. EKY only made me smile.

You almost cant put a price on what Bill Self does (for his players who are willing to listen and work hard). Bill Self is old-school American/Midwestern work ethic, and I love that. I think it could be a trap if people "PC" themselves out of true feedback, true constructive criticism, which then only impedes their own progress. In the vocation he is in, Self knows about not being "soft", but is certainly fatherly when needed. I regret Jamari has to be apart from his father (that's his dad's fault), but thru Self, Jamari is learning about perseverance, work ethic, getting a higher education, and also learning about versatility and adaptability as he sees Self gameplanning this upcoming season...

Thank goodness for guys like Bill Self (& Jamari Traylor).


Kevin Whelan 7 years, 12 months ago

I'm expecting a breakout season for Jamari. He sure had some bright spots last season. I was really impressed with how well he drove to the basket, for a big guy. I like his spirit, energy, and hustle. I expect him to be a team leader next year. He'll get to the next level. Hopefully, the money he earns in the NBA will help his dad to lawyer up so he can suspend that lifetime sentence and spend time with Jamari.

Dan Lankard 7 years, 12 months ago

So what if Jamari made a radical comment about our country? I don't believe anyone who seriously tells me that they sit in an ivory tower and have never said something radical about our government. Plus, if people actually knew more about Traylor, they would know he very much appreciates the opportunity he was granted and the position he is in now. The dude was sleeping in abandoned cars in Chicago for Christ's sake! Read this article about him and please tell me if you still think this guy is truly unappreciative:

People need to build a greater sense of sympathy and understanding before they come down with a moral hammer.

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