The last thing any high school basketball player wants to deal with during their senior year is an injury. Especially when they’re looking to win a second state title with teammates. Unfortunately for future Jayhawk Tyrel Reed, that’s exactly what he’s had to do. After leading Burlington (KS) High to a 6-0 start, the six-foot-three inch point guard -- who won a class 3A state championship as a freshman -- sprained his right ankle forcing him to miss out on some action.
“It’s been nagging, I sprained it really good so it just takes time to heal,” said Reed. “I’m not fully 100% but I’m getting there slowly. I missed five games right after Christmas.”
During his absence, Burlington dropped one game but since Reed’s return they’ve gone 4-0 most recently knocking off rival Humboldt (KS) High 82-65 on Friday night. Despite flirting with triple doubles in almost every game back, Reed isn’t completely happy with the way he’s performed.
“I haven’t shot the ball real well, but I’ve been playing ok otherwise,” said Reed. “I haven’t found my legs yet but I’ve been passing the ball well and getting some steals. I’m real tentative on it (ankle) so attacking the basket doesn’t come quite as easy but it will with time.”
Well known around the state since bursting onto the scene as a freshman, Reed has also become a favorite target of opposing fans after signing with Kansas. He’s heard a little bit of everything and much of the time it doesn’t have anything to do with him.
“It’s been pretty fun, I enjoy playing with that pressure,” Reed told Phog.net. “It’s just weird, sometimes it’s nothing that has to do with me. Like when KU lost to Oral Roberts the crowds were chanting Oral Roberts like it has anything to do with me. I enjoy it really, it’s kind of fun to play with.”
For the most part the ribbing from opposing fans has been good natured, but even if it went beyond that it would take a lot to get any kind of verbal response from Reed. He prefers to let his game do his talking.
“I’m quiet, I just listen to it, laugh and keep playing,” said Reed of cat-calls from fans. “It’s not really my nature to talk but if there was a moment where something needed to be said I would, but it hasn’t come to that.”
When he isn’t putting in work for Burlington, Reed has been doing his best to keep in touch with fellow Kansas signee Cole Aldrich.
“I’ve been texting Cole to see how he’s doing,” said Reed. “It’s kind of hard him being in a different state and everything but he’s been doing a good job keeping me up to date.”
Naturally, the 17 year old stays in touch with his future coaches and he’s sought their advice when it comes to areas of his game to focus on.
“I’ve been trying to work on my shot, getting it off a lot quicker,” said Reed. “When I come in the pace of the game is going to be a big change. They’ve told me to get off my shot in college I’ve got to come off screens and not hesitate.”
When his schedule allows it, Reed has also been making the drive from Burlington to Lawrence to take in Kansas home games. Having been to countless games as both a recruit and a fan growing up, games this year have been much different.
“Once you know who you are going to play for after all of the recruiting is done you kind of watch to see where you’d fit in,” said Reed of what he’s watching for. “You just kind of try and look at it and work that into your game.”
With his ankle on the mend and the state playoffs looming in the not so distant future, Reed is channeling all of his energy into finishing his high school career the way he started it, with a state championship. After bowing out early during his sophomore and junior seasons -- despite Burlington being ranked #1 in the state -- Reed and his teammates are plenty motivated and he believes in them and their chemistry.
“It motivates me a lot, losing the last two years and the way we did,” finished Reed. “People doubting you and saying you aren’t as good as you are. Maybe this year we don’t have as much talent but our chemistry is a lot better and I believe in them.”