Thanks to his outstanding play during his freshman season at Kansas City (Mo.) Central and the continued success he experienced during the summer, Travis Releford has emerged as one of the top recruits in the country for the class of 2008. Thursday evening the 6-4 WG, who will start his sophomore year of high school on Monday, made the trip from KC to Lawrence in order to play in a few pickup games with the current Kansas squad.
While Releford hoped to gain some experience playing against older and stronger players, he also met with head coach Bill Self and walked away with something else; the feeling that he’d been offered a scholarship.
“Yeah, he offered me one (scholarship),” Releford said of his post pickup meeting with Self. “He was just telling me about how they run their program and everything. He said that he’s one of those coaches that tells players the truth. He says he’ll tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.”
As for playing against the current team, the young standout felt that he held his own. After being worried that he wouldn’t be able to compete physically, Releford realized that all he had to do was push back and he’d be fine.
“It was fun, they’re a lot more physical and stronger than players in my age group and in high school,” the 15 year old Releford told Phog.net. “They definitely run. I think I did good, I ran the floor with them. I tried to push back with them and wouldn’t let them push me around.”
Since he doesn’t have a license yet, Releford relied on one of his summer coaches with KC Pump ‘N Run, L.J. Goolsby, to give him a ride. According to Goolsby, his young player wasn’t shy about putting up shots and held his own while hitting pull-up jumpers from mid range and deep threes while mixing in a few sharp passes.
“He did real well, he knocked down some shots,” said Goolsby. “He didn’t make everything, but he was aggressive offensively and that’s what you like to see. He was poised for his age. He looked like a recruit on a visit, not a sophomore in high school.”
According to Goolsby, who sat in on the meeting with Kansas coaches, it was pretty clear that Releford is squarely on the Kansas radar.
“They let him know that they’re going to be right there with him,” said Goolsby. “He’s their main target for that class right now.”
Although the pickup game environment didn’t allow for a lot of time to chit-chat, Releford noted that he appreciated the chance to meet current players. More than anything, he felt like he belonged on the floor.
“They all came up to me and introduced themselves,” said Releford. “I felt normal, I had a lot of fun.”
Despite his young age, he’s already heard from schools all over the country. At this point there is a pair of schools that stands out along with Kansas and he struggles to explain what it’s like to hear from the heavyweights of college hoops at such a young age.
With three years of high school and lots of basketball ahead of him, Releford has plenty of time to sort out his options. He plans to head back to Lawrence for more pickup games, but says it’s awfully early to make a decision.
“Not for real,” said Releford when asked if he could make a very early decision. “I’m probably not going to do that until my senior or junior year.”
Editors note: Phog.net first brought Travis Releford to the attention of Kansas fans back in December of 2004.