There's no lack of competitive spark in Tyrel Reed, even off the basketball court.
When he's not on the floor trying to improve his game, the Kansas University sophomore guard likes to hit the links. Golf is just another way for Reed to bond with his teammates. The Jayhawks will need that bond this year, after they lost virtually everyone - minus Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich - who played significant minutes on last year's national championship team.
So who comes out on top at the golf course?
"Conner (Teahan) thinks he's better than I am, but I think I can beat Conner," Reed said with a smile. "And I've beat Chase (Buford) before. We're all OK. They're all fun to be with, and we have a lot of fun when we're out there."
On the basketball court, Reed is determined to do several things before KU's exhibition opener against Washburn on Nov. 4 at Allen Fieldhouse:
¢ First and foremost, he admitted his defense must improve.
If Reed wants to be a serious candidate for minutes off the bench, he must be more aggressive. Consider the following guards who will see minutes for KU next year: Collins is obvious, and it appears freshman Tyshawn Taylor and junior college transfer Mario Little also could see considerable minutes. After that, there's the unknown committee of Reed, sophomore Teahan, junior college transfer Tyrone Appleton, freshman Travis Releford and sophomore Brady Morningstar.
"Coach has told me to be more aggressive all the time," Reed said of KU coach Bill Self. "Defensively, just adjusting to the speed of the game more, getting out on the court more and just having some opportunities to get out there and show that I can defend."
¢ Second, the Burlington native wants to polish his skills on offense. Most know Reed can shoot well, but he probably could improve on his penetration to the basket. It doesn't hurt to have former KU guard Kirk Hinrich as the athlete you model your game after.
"Kirk's such a great player," Reed said. "I just try to mold my game the best I can around him. He's such a complete player, and he can really defend.
"But Kirk Hinrich's Kirk Hinrich. I'm Tyrel. There's really no comparison," he said with a laugh.
¢ Finally, he wants to lead by example. With seven newcomers on the KU roster this year, it will help to have experience surrounding the youth as much as possible.
"We know how coach is going to be - if it's going to be a good day of practice, bad day of practice - we just try to bring our insight and help the young guys out," Reed said. "They've been really following us, and it's been good."
How about the first time those newcomers witness a packed Allen Fieldhouse for a game? Any advice for the first-timers?
"You can try to tell them about it, but until you're here with 16,000 fans screaming and yelling for you, there's really nothing like it," Reed said.
Reed said KU's ranking of being tied for third with Baylor in the Big 12 coaches preseason poll didn't mean much. He said the Jayhawks would continue to play their style of game - up-tempo, fast and aggressive - and the rankings would take care of themselves.
"That's the way coach Self plays, and that's the way these guys like to play, so we're definitely going to get up and down the court," Reed said. "We have some guys that can run, so I think you're going to see normal KU basketball."