Tyrel Reed no longer nervous

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed looks to push the ball past Colorado forward Andre Roberson during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Bill Self and Tyrel Reed, both sons of basketball coaches and both excellent students in the classroom and on the hardwood, seemingly had a lot in common. Yet, for a pair of 6-foot-3 guys, they didn’t necessarily see eye-to-eye at first.

It’s not that Reed, who played for his father, Stacy Reed, at Burlington High, didn’t like his new basketball coach. He just couldn’t shake his harsh critiques at first.

“Tyrel came in as a nervous kid,” Self said. “Really nervous around me and didn’t get me at all for a while. As he’s matured and developed, I think he’s one of the most fun kids to be around.”

As a freshman, Reed played just 144 minutes and averaged 2.0 points in 23 games. The growing pains came in practice.

“Growing up as a coach’s son, I’d always faced a little yelling in my life,” Tyrel said. “I wouldn’t say coach Self’s yelling really got to me that much. I didn’t know how to respond to it as much, it not being from my dad. I couldn’t take it with a grain of salt. I hung onto things. Coach Self doesn’t hang onto things. He’ll say what he wants to say, and then it’s over with. He can joke with you the next play. But I just wasn’t used to that, and I didn’t know how to respond.”

Reed has the confidence now to look back on those days with a smile.

“I was just nervous, never wanting to mess up, trying to please everyone,” he said. “I didn’t have any fun. I wouldn’t say I didn’t have any fun. I had fun, but I didn’t have as much fun as I could have had along the way. Now I’ve kind of loosened up. I can joke with him, and I enjoy being around him, enjoy being around all the coaches.”

As Marcus Morris revealed earlier this year when talking about his coach and his friend Jacob Pullen’s coach, Frank Martin of Kansas State, Self’s demeanor has a rougher edge when he’s wearing a whistle than when he’s wearing a suit and tie.

“I was like, ‘Man, he’s always on me. I don’t know what to do.’ But I got used to it, and I realized it just comes with the territory, and he really loves all his players,” Reed said.

It took guts for Reed to come to Kansas, where playing time can be hard to earn for a small-town Kansas kid. He never looked at it that way. If he hadn’t committed during the early period with Kansas, he said, he might have signed with North Carolina in the spring. He thought he was good enough to earn big minutes for an elite college basketball team, and he was right.

Nothing about him suggests anxiety now. When the ball gets in his hands, he either keeps it moving with a quick, purposeful pass, or he shoots it, or he attacks the hoop with a hard drive, something he didn’t do in earlier years.

Reed’s averaging 27.4 minutes, 9.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.5 steals, all career highs. His parents will be on hand Wednesday for their son’s final game in Allen Fieldhouse. Stacy has been to every game, home and away. They’ll be watching a confident man, not a nervous teenager.