Tyrel Reed - After skipping KC Pump's trip to Minneapolis the weekend before so that he could rest and heal, Reed made a strong return at the Jayhawk. Last year at this very same event, the 6-3 PG from Burlington (Kan.) High struggled at times, but that wasn't the case in 2006. Starting with a strong outing on Friday night where he scored 16 points in a dismantling of future Kansas Jayhawk – and former UNC recruit – Cole Aldrich's Minnesota Magic Elite.
Saturday, Reed picked up right where he left as he scored when needed, set up teammates and kept leading his team to victories. By the time he was finished on Sunday, he'd scored 20 points in a championship game victory over Ft. Sooy No Limit and been named the MVP of the 17-and-under division. A true point guard by nature, Reed spent much of the weekend playing off of the ball. The way his team's personnel sets up, his ability to shoot and score is more necessary than his ability to set up teammates. Even while off the ball, though, he's constantly making the game easier for those around him and it is clear that things run much smoother while he's on the court. Maybe most important, when plays needed to be made or a basket needed to be created, it was Reed who stepped up to make a big jumper, drop a dime through traffic or take a defender off the dribble. Maybe most remarkable is that the right hander is seemingly more comfortable scoring going to his left than to his natural hand.
Travis Releford - Back in January when he transferred from Kansas City (Mo.) Central to Shawnee Mission (Kan.) Bishop Miege, the 6-5 wing understood that he might have to sit out the rest of his sophomore season due to transfer rules. He didn't like it, but at least it was only going to be a short time and club ball would start up in early April. Then in March, Releford dislocated his right ankle delaying his return to the court even further so it was with great anticipation that he made his return on Friday night.
Not surprisingly, the gifted scorer was a bit rusty and he doesn't look to be in complete game shape. At the same time, there were some brilliant flashes that showed exactly why he's so highly regarded. Maybe the most surprising aspects of his game were how well he saw the court – he dropped off several nice passes – and how well he defended. He's always gotten raves for his efficient scoring and above average rebounding, but he proved that he has a chance to be an absolute lockdown defender out on the perimeter. He moves his feet very well, has long arms, quick hands and he takes a lot of pride in shutting his man down. In relatively limited minutes he still managed to knock down some mid-range jumpers, get to the rim and showed surprising bounciness -- given his long layoff -- in the open court throwing down a Lebron James-style two handed reverse.
According to Releford, not much has changed on the school front -- Kansas still leads UNC and Duke -- and he's just happy to be back on the court.
"It really feels good to get back out there with my team, the crowd, the hype, it felt great," said Releford. "I think I played pretty well, I just need to get my wind back."
KC PUMP ‘N RUN COACH LJ GOOLSBY ON REED AND RELEFORD
On Tyrel Reed:
"I thought he had a really solid weekend, when we needed him to step up and make plays that's what he did. He's got a tremendous calming effect on the court and he gets the ball where it's supposed to be. When we need him to step up and take a big shot, he's not afraid."
"I haven't seen everybody, but I wouldn't trade him for anybody that's for sure. He's come into our program and made it a winning program along with some others. He's all about winning and that shows with what he's done on the high school level and in AAU. He led us to the Adidas Super 64 title last year as well as three others and he just led us to our first title this year. I'm looking forward to him leading us to more."
On Travis Releford:
"My expectations were to only play him about two or three minutes again, but seeing he was a lot further along I was excited to get him more minutes. Once he gets his timing and stuff back, it's going to get even better for him as the summer goes along. Defensively I thought he changed the momentum of some of the games we were in to get us heading in the right direction. That's what he's about, making big plays."
"I think that Travis wants to be the best player that's there and he wants to let everybody know that. Even being at 80 or 85 percent this weekend he still wanted to be out there as much as possible. It showed his competitive nature. The kid is all about winning and that's really what it's all about. It's great to coach a kid like that."