Archive for Friday, January 20, 2012

Travis Releford excels at ‘little things’

January 20, 2012


Here’s what’s really cool about Kansas University junior wing Travis Releford: You never hear him say he’s a combination of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Releford arrived on campus as most elite athletes do, eager to play right away. He sat the bench as a freshman and took it like a man. Before his sophomore season started, Releford listened to coach Bill Self tell him that he thinks it would be better for his development to red-shirt because he would be a more developed basketball player and produce more in his fifth year than in his second.

A talented athlete who plays with the aggression of a junkyard dog, Releford is the last guy in the NCAA who would allow an attorney to send out press releases explaining he has been wronged.

For a guy who has produced so well for a basketball program that once had a beat writer grill the coach for a good 10 minutes about the strengths, weaknesses, anticipated tangible and intangible contributions of a walk-on who had averaged 2.4 points per game in junior college basketball, Releford doesn’t have such a thick scrapbook.

Releford doesn’t have to say he’s committed to Kansas. He shows it every day, so nobody ever asks the question. He’s committed to the team. He shows that in every practice, every game, every mandatory team meeting, so nobody ever asks the question.

He enjoys talking about the accomplishments of teammates Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor and did so again before Thursday’s practice.

Releford does a little bit of everything but is the lone starter who doesn’t lead the team in any major official statistical category. Robinson leads in scoring and rebounding, Taylor in minutes, three-point shooting percentage and assists, Jeff Withey in field-goal percentage and blocked shots, Elijah Johnson in steals.

Releford does lead the team in an unofficial statistic tracked by assistant athletic director/media relations Chris Theisen, a category he calls “floorburns.” It’s a subjective statistic that includes hustle plays such as deflections, flying out of bounds to make saves, hitting the floor for loose balls, etc. Releford leads the team with 49, and Robinson is second with 35. Releford and Robinson also share the team lead in charges drawn (four).

“I had no idea,” Releford said. “I didn’t know we were keeping stats in anything like that. I try to do all the little things, do the hustle plays, stop the opponent’s best scorer and rebound, just the little things that help a team to be great.”

The best player he’s ever seen at doing the little things?

“I can’t name one off the top of my head right now,” Releford said.

Of course he can’t. Players don’t aspire to be the best in the game at little things. They want to be great, and they want to win. So they emulate stars. It won’t be his turn to fill that role until next year, so he has figured out how to become as valuable to teammates as possible.

“I would say Travis probably plays with as much energy as anybody,” Self said.

That approach will lead to a paint-peeling Senior Night ovation in 2013 as the end of five years of dedicated service nears. People sure will be sorry to see him go.


Jay Hawk 6 years, 4 months ago

Haha...another swipe at Berglund. Glad to see you've moved on Keegan. Travis is the epitome of team athletics. He is my favorite. Withey is coming along nicely as well. It's unfathomable that. Dickie V didn't mention Self as one of his COY candidates. This is shaping up to be one of his most amazing coaching jobs ever. He has great assistants too. People who are questioning the Grunhard hire should remember that Danny Manning came to us with even less coaching experience. There is no experience like the playing field. That said, let Berglund go Zenger. Send him on his way and wish him well. How does this help KU? Doesn't it just cost us another years scholarship? Even if it doesn't it is poor public relations which we can not afford. Other recruiters will use it against us. Grow up and be the adult here. I say this as a die hard Hawk fan of 52 years. Move on.

Jayhawk1963 6 years, 4 months ago

Calm down !!! Berglund will get his release ! Considering how he has jerked KU around over the past year, he deserves to sweat a little. What a prima donna and crybaby !

jayhawklawrence 6 years, 4 months ago

I really enjoyed this column.

I am so glad we have Travis on our team.

akhawkfan 6 years, 2 months ago

The key to the hawks winning the championship in 2012 is Withey! Robinson is so well known by the opposition, they cover him with two of three players. When Withey is playing aggressive as he did at K State, KU can beat anyone in the country.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.