Last season Travis Releford functioned as a reliable, complementary player to Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor. He was the reliable sidekick, Robin, to their Batman. Now it’s his turn to shine and lead alongside Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson and Kevin Young.
Those four are the senior leaders on a team where much of the early attention has been focused on the potential of super talented freshman such as Ben McLemore and Perry Ellis. The attention may be on the youngsters, but last week it was Releford at the heart of the team’s success in the CBE Classic at the Sprint Center.
He was recognized for those efforts yesterday when he was named the Big 12 conference’s player of the week.
Prior to the Jayhawks game against the Washington State Cougars on the 19th, Releford had managed just 10 points on 3-12 shooting in the team’s first two games. While he was active on the floor in helping out in other ways – six rebounds, nine assists, six steals and two blocks – the shots weren’t falling and he was 0-6 on three point attempts.
The Cougars proved to be an cure-all for that as the Kansas City native led Kansas in scoring with 17 points on 6-7 shooting and hit two three pointers as they cruised to a comfortable 37 point win. He followed that up with a 23 point game against the St. Louis Billikens last Tuesday giving him 40 points over the course of his two games at the Sprint Center in front of his hometown friends and family.
This marks the second time that Releford has been named the conference player of the week. He also was so honored back in January when he racked up a combined 44 points and 14 rebounds in games against Kansas State and Oklahoma. After averaging 8.5 points per game as a junior he’s up to 12.0 ppg through five games as a senior.
For Releford it was a well deserved honor and based on Withey’s triple-double last night, the Jayhawks senior class might go back-to-back.