Up Close With Tyrel

On Feb. 25, two days before the Kansas-Oklahoma State game in Stillwater, Phog.net and a group of reporters gathered around KU junior guard Tyrel Reed outside the locker room in Allen Fieldhouse before practice. Reed answered a battery of questions about such topics as his academic load, his love for woodworking and golf, and his knack for hitting clutch shots.

Tyrel Reed, who closed the Big 12 regular season at Missouri on March 6 with one of his best games all year (11 points, 3 of 5 from three-point range), is averaging 4.6 points in 15.2 minutes per game this season, while shooting a scorching 44.9 percent from downtown. He was named to the 2010 Academic All-Big 12 First Team for the second straight season.

He will be a vital cog in KU's attack entering the postseason with his potent outside shooting and overall hustle.

Media: "You're nearing the 2,000 win in KU history. What's that going to mean to you guys?"

TR:  "I think it's a big deal for the university and just for Kansas in general to have a team with that many wins. ... To be one of those two, three schools that has a chance to win 2,000 pretty soon, that's a big accomplishment and just shows you the tradition we have at Kansas."

Media: "Who's the first Kansas player you remember?"

TR: "Probably my favorite when I was little and the first one I really remember was Paul Pierce. That's the first KU game I ever came to and Paul Pierce was here. He had a reverse dunk. I can't remember what game it was or anything, but I just remember falling in love at that time."

Media: "He's done OK in the pros."

TR: "He's done all right, he's got a championship with the Celtics. You can't beat that."

Media: "Did you ever meet him?"

TR: "I haven't met him. He hasn't come back to KU really any time recently."

Media: "He's busy during the All-Star break. That's when guys come back."

TR: "I'd rather be an All-Star than probably come back as well, so can't blame him there."

Media: "Do you have a pretty heavy schedule this semester? You're finishing up all those classes. Is it pretty tough balancing practice and (academics)?"

TR: "For sure, my major is pretty demanding. I'm taking an exercise biochemistry class right now, just some crazy ones that I never thought I'd be taking in my life. But I'm just trying to get through them the best I can and focus on basketball as well."

Media: "What do you think of Cole (Aldrich, junior center) being named Academic All-American of the Year?"

TR: "That's awesome. I'm so proud of the kid. He's really worked hard. I know he set a goal early on that he wanted to be an Academic All-American. To be the number one scholar athlete, that's a testament to his hard work and his greatness on the court."

Media: "Who's smarter, him or you?"

TR: "I'd like to think I am (smiles), but he's a smart kid. We're in different majors, so it's a completely different field. He's just a big fun-loving guy that works hard in whatever he does. He's going to be successful in whatever he does."

Media: "What's your major?"

TR: "Exercise science and pre-physical therapy."

Media: "That's harder than communications." (Aldrich's major)

TR: "I'd like to think so. (Smiles.) I've taken some tough classes that I don't want to take any more. I got to go to PT (Physical Therapy) school for three years after this at some time. I still got three more years of college after my undergrad."

Media: "They should have basketball teams for grad schools."

TR: "Yeah, I know. I'd get three more years of eligibility. (Smiles.) Maybe they'd pay for my school as well. That'd be all right."

Media: "I saw one of your skills in your media page was woodworking. What do you do in your spare time. What kind of things do you make?"

TR: "In high school, I carved a Jayhawk. I made a bunch of coffee tables, made a bar and entertainment center for my house."

Media: "Do you got anything in your dorm room you've made?"

TR: "Just a carving of the Jayhawk right now. I don't have enough room for anything else. I made the other stuff for my parents."

Media: "Did you paint it?"

TR: "Yeah, I painted it and everything. I actually had coach (Bill) Self and coach (Danny) Manning sign it. I thought that would be pretty cool. It's in my room. It's actually a gift for my sister, but it's in my room right now and she wants it back pretty bad. But I wish I could keep it, I really like it. I carved it for her when I was in high school when she was a freshman at KU."

Media "Do you like having her with the program?" (Lacie Reed is a senior basketball manager.)

TR: "I love having my sister here. It's been a real blessing to have her around. A lot of college kids don't get to see their siblings that much, and I get to see her every day. It hasn't been awkward or anything. The team and guys have been great about it. It's been fun."

Media: "Are your mom and dad at most of the road games?"

TR: "My dad hasn't missed a game since I've been in college. He quit coaching basketball so he could watch me play. His passion has always been coaching and basketball. He drives three or four times a week just to go watch a basketball game somewhere. He's driven to Iowa to see some of his friends play. In the middle of the week when I have a game on the road, he's going to travel another 10 hours. He just loves basketball and loves watching it."

Media: "Does he fill your head or does he let coach Self do that?"

TR: "He lets coach Self do that. We don't even discuss basketball anymore, just more of a father-son relationship. I look forward to the summer when we can golf together and hang out. He doesn't talk to me much about basketball. He knows I just have to keep working hard and getting better, and coach Self is my coach now and will guide me."

Media: "Is he a better golfer than you or not?"

TR: "No, he used to be. But the past couple of years, I've gotten to play a little bit more and I can finally beat him on a regular basis."

Media: "When did you pick up golf?"

TR: "I played golf when I was little, never very much. I bought some clubs last year, or the year before. I saved a bunch money so I could get a really good pair. I played 30 or 40 times (last) summer and just enjoy it whenever I can get out there."

Media: "What's your handicap?"

TR: "I don't know. I never had my handicap tested. The best round I've shot is like an 80, 81. I've never got in the 70s yet. I consistently shoot 85, 86. Just something fun to do besides basketball."

Media: "Do you feel like you got natural talent for it?"

TR: "I think so. When I was a little kid, I'd go out in in my yard and hit balls. When you live in a small town (Reed grew up in Eureka and Burlington, Kan.), there's really not much to do but play sports so that's what I did. I played football, ran track in high school. I went to state in that and won the long jump. I've just been lucky enough to (participate) in sports."

Media: "Do people in Burlington have a place they get together to watch KU games,  or do they watch them at home?"

TR: ‘"I think they just watch them at home. There's really no big place anyone can go watch it. I know a lot of my friends have it Tivo'd or get the College Pass to buy all the games so that they can see everything. I have a lot of supporters down there, and I'm really fortunate."

Media: "Do you have a favorite memory of Sherron (Collins, senior guard) over the years?"

TR: "What sticks in my mind is the national championship game when he's falling down and made the pass (to Mario Chalmers for the game-tying three pointer that sent the game into overtime). Also, earlier in the game when he got the steal and passed it out to Russell (Robinson) and Russell passed it out to him for the three. He always comes up with big plays and clutch plays when we need it the most. That's probably in my mind what he's going to be remembered for the most. He's just a winner and he always figured out a way to win."

Media: "That's your best asset, too, isn't it. (Being) clutch?"

TR: "Some people say that. I love taking big shots. I love the big stage. I have confidence in myself to knock that shot down. It's just always kind of been that way."

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