Reed Giving KU Shot in the Arm

Tyrel Reed opened the exhibition season on fire. He scored 16 points and drilled his first four three-pointers in KU's victory over Washburn on Nov. 4.

Nearly two weeks later in the regular-season opener versus UMKC, Reed started and matched his career high with 12 points on 5 of 10 shooting. The 6-3 sophomore guard from Burlington, Kan., then dropped nine points the following game against Florida Gulf Coast while making both of his three-pointers.

However, Reed struggled with his shot the next four games, shooting just 23.5 percent on 4 of 17 from the field, including 3 of 13 (2 of 11 from beyond the arc) against Washington and Syracuse in the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic at Sprint Center in Kansas City on Nov. 24-25. He scored just two points versus Washington and six against the Orangemen.

Eighteen days later, Reed returns to the Sprint Center on Saturday (KU hosts Massachusetts at 1 p.m. CST) with signs of getting back on track. He's shot 7 of 13 from three-point range in his last two games, scoring 12 points versus New Mexico State on Dec. 3, while adding 11 against Jackson State last Saturday.

Reed didn’t make a big deal of his recent offensive surge.

“That was just great by Sherron (Collins) and Tyshawn (Taylor) finding me  open,” Reed said after making 3 of 6 three-pointers in KU’s 86-62 victory over Jackson State.

“The shots felt good.”

Despite his shooting struggles during that four-game stretch, Reed never considered himself in a slump.

“I felt like my shot was always there, even when I was missing shots earlier in the year,” Reed said. “I think I’ve shot well in practice and have been playing OK. Coach (Bill) Self just says when you’re open, shoot it, so that’s what I try to do.”

Reed added four assists and two steals against Jackson State, but also committed three turnovers. He knows he must improve his overall game. Reed is averaging 7.3 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 22.6 minutes per game, while shooting 39.1 percent from the field, 34.5 percent beyond the arc, and a team-high 91.7 percent at the charity stripe.

“There are so many things I can get better at — rebounding, not getting beat by my man,” Reed said. “Coach Self said it’s mano o  mano (on defense). You can’t let your man score. You can’t force help.”

Reed is getting better defensively after arriving at Kansas last year with a reputation as a long-range bomber following a standout career at Burlington High School. He showed great shooting touch his freshman season, making 18 of 35 shots for 51.4 percent, while shooting a blistering 45.8 percent (11 of 24) from three-point range.

His points (2.0 in 6.3 minutes per game) were just an extra bonus last year on a team filled with talent and sharpshooters. Now with four players from last year’s national championship team in the NBA, Reed needs to score and make open shots for KU to be successful.

Junior guard Sherron Collins expects Reed to deliver this season.

“When he’s making shots, we’re going to be good,” Collins said. “Every time he catches it, we tell him to shoot. He’s a shooter. Uncontested or contested, it’s a good shot for Tyrel.”

Reed admits he feels more confident when he makes his first shot. He certainly has the green light from Self.

“You should always be aggressive, but when my first shot goes in, it does make you feel good.” Reed said. “The next one, you just feel that much more confidence. ...  (Self) stresses to me, ‘if you’re open behind the line, definitely take those shots. We want you to hit those. Just be aggressive when I can and choose my spots to get in there and take it to the basket.’”

With fall classes over and finals ending next week, Reed expects some spirited practices in the coming weeks over semester break. With such a young team, Reed knows the extra practice time will be beneficial.

“We got so many young guys not knowing the system right now,” Reed said. “I include myself in that. I didn’t play a whole lot last year, and I’m still learning things every day. As soon as we have some more practices, I think that will be good for us. We got to have the mindset that we are going to get better.”

Reed may not talk much on the court, but he can be KU’s silent assassin with his deadly shooting. If he continues to strike from deep, this Jayhawk team is bound to get better.

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