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Archive for Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Reed battling for playing time

February 20, 2008

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Tyrel Reed trying to earn more PT

The Kansas men's basketball team arguably have four guards that could start on any NCAA team in the nation. Still - outside of Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Sherron Collins, and Russell Robinson, the Jayhawks are searching for consistent bench help on the perimeter. Enlarge video

Kansas University's Mario Chalmers, Russell Robinson and Brandon Rush all are assured plenty of minutes on the perimeter the rest of the season, provided they stay healthy.

Same goes for Sherron Collins, the first sparkplug off the bench.

As far as perimeter spot No. 5 - that's open for debate.

"I said publicly we need to have a fifth perimeter player step up," KU coach Bill Self said in the wake of Saturday's 69-45 victory over Colorado. "I could care less who it is. We need to get one more going."

Indicating senior Rodrick Stewart had been in a bit of a "funk" of late, Self turned to freshman Tyrel Reed during the second half of the Colorado game.

Reed, 6-foot-3 from Burlington, hit a pair of threes in three tries and scored six points with three fouls in eight minutes.

It marked the first time Reed had scored since hitting a shot in two tries against Boston College on Jan. 5.

"He is getting back close to healthy," Self said of Reed, who suffered a severe left ankle sprain against Arizona on Nov. 25 and hasn't been 100 percent since, evidenced by his logging an average of 3.0 minutes a game in seven of KU's first 11 Big 12 contests.

"Look at Ty Lawson at North Carolina. He goes out with an ankle (Feb. 3) and has not been able to practice or play in a game yet. It goes to show you (how tough it is to come back from sprains). Tyrel has struggled with it. He's getting healthy," Self added.

Reed agrees it's been a long road back from injury.

"I've pretty much been battling it since the Arizona game. It's the last time I was healthy," Reed said. "It's just been my ankle. Everything else has been good. I haven't been sick or anything."

Reed said he doesn't feel like he's in a heated battle with Stewart and/or Jeremy Case for perimeter-man minutes.

"I'm just going out every day in practice. I don't see it as a competition for the fifth spot. I think there will be a time and place for each of us to play. Whoever is ready will get that chance," Reed said.

Reed - he played 11 minutes in KU's season opener against Louisiana Monroe and 21 versus Northern Arizona (the game before the Arizona game) - said he didn't feel his freshman year has been a washout because of injuries.

"Injuries happen, and you've got to push through them," said Reed, who said he has missed just a couple of practices because of his ankle woes. "I've learned so many things. Even when I've been hurt I've been watching the guards play day in and out."

Reed, who has averaged 7.3 minutes per game in 18 contests, has made 17 of 33 shots for 51.5 percent. He has made 11 of 24 threes for 45.8 percent.

"I've got to work on my defense. I'm not too worried about my offense. It'll come," said Reed, who has 17 assists against three turnovers. "I know I can (defend on major-college level). It just has to become a mind-set for me. I just have to get tougher. Defense is all about toughness and not letting them score, watching everybody else and learning."

Reed realizes he could be a major part of the rotation his sophomore campaign.

"It's totally up to what happens between now and then," said Reed, willing to play both the point- and shooting-guard slots.

"I don't think I'm going to play mainly the 1, mainly the 2. In practice I still play both," Reed said.

Reed's teammates like what they've seen at practice.

"He works really hard. I just think he's young," sophomore Collins said. "When he makes mistakes, he gets down on himself sometimes, but he always comes back. He always encourages everybody else."

Senior Robinson noted: "Tyrel as a freshman is doing very well. The great thing about Tyrel is his work ethic. He works hard."

His recent work paid off with the minutes against Colorado.

"It's an OK effort," Reed said of his line against CU. "Three fouls isn't very good. I've got to keep working on my defense.

"I'm still learning. I'll always be learning. I enjoy being here in college, trying to be independent, watching everyone and learning."

"He's a fun guy to watch play. Nobody can ever doubt his 'want-to,''' Self said. "He is tough, competitive. He wants to do well. He will be a good player."

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