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Archive for Saturday, November 1, 2008

Releford in rush to deflect comparison

Travis Releford

Travis Releford

November 1, 2008

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Travis Releford says he knows the comparisons to Brandon Rush are going to be there.

He just doesn't agree with them.

"We are two different players," the 6-foot-5 guard from Bishop Miege High School said. "He's more of a shooter, I'm more of a slasher. There's really no comparing."

Releford steps on to campus in his first semester at Kansas University as a smooth, versatile guard from the Kansas City area. On the surface, the Rush comparisons seem pretty legitimate.

There are differences, though, and one doesn't have to listen very long to hear them.

Rush, at his first media day, made headlines by describing his game using two words: "Highlights. Highlights."

Releford's mind-set is a little different.

"My game is based on defense," he said. "I think if you create on the defensive end, the offense will come."

It hasn't taken long for Releford to catch the eyes of the coaching staff.

KU coach Bill Self had to work hard to make Rush into the consistent defender he became. The coach, however, doesn't envision it will be that long before Releford develops into a defensive stopper.

"He could already be a major college, high-major defender with his length and his ability to slide and his strength," Self said. "He's ahead of the game in some areas."

Releford also showed himself to be an advanced scorer during the team's exhibition trip to Canada.

The freshman led the Jayhawks in points, averaging 14.3 per game on 16-of-23 shooting (70 percent). He also had a 25-point game against Carleton, hitting 10 of 11 shots.

"He's got enough natural athleticism to play anywhere right away - there's no doubt about that," Self said. "There's some things he's got to improve on to see how he fits in with everybody else, but Travis is going to be a good college player."

Releford also gained some valuable experience over the summer playing for the 2008 USA Basketball men's U18 National team.

After growing up around the Jayhawks and playing some of his AAU tournaments in Allen Fieldhouse, Releford said he's eager for his KU career to begin.

"I just expect to come out and do things on the defensive end," Releford said, "to get my team motivated and pumped up."

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