50 in 50 is a feature here at RCT counting down until the Jayhawks kick off the 2011 basketball season on November first. Got an idea for something you'd like to see featured here? tweet @rockchalktalk or @fetch9 or email me at fetch9 at gmail dot com.
Travis Releford was a fairly high profile local recruit (rated 70th in the Rivals top 100 as a Senior) who chose Kansas over Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. He struggled a bit (though he shot very well) as a Freshman, then redshirted in his second year. This past year he was set to have a bigger role in the offense, but injuries curtailed that a bit. So what can we expect from the local product in his Junior season?
What he does well: Releford is a really good spot up shooter. He had a 59% eFG and shot 37.8% from three. At 6'5" he has the ability to shoot it over smaller guards and does a good job of getting into shooting spots either by running off screens or in transition. He puts in on the floor well enough to be able to go past guys big enough to stop his outside game, and can shoot over guys shorter than him. Although he attempted only 41 twos last year, he made 25 of them (61%). His 2.5% steal rate was third best on last year's team.
What he does poorly: Despite being a great spot up shooter, he struggles from the free throw line (61% last year). He hasn't needed to yet, but he isn't a very good rebounder (8.1% offensive, 7.6% defensive). While he has a decent assist rate, his TO% of 16.6% is too high for a wing guy who isn't in charge of creating much offense. Also, and this could be a product of fighting off some lower body injuries the past couple years, he isn't a very good defender. There's been talk of him playing the 4 when Kansas wants to go small, but I don't see how he can guard an opposing 4 (though it would be great offensively), and I also don't see how he can guard a two.
Season Outlook: Assuming he can shoot around 40% from three over a full season, having Releford be a spot up shooter off the bench isn't the worst thing in the world. While I would probably only have him defend spot up type guys, offensively he can be used at the 2, 3 and probably the 4 as well, creating some matchup problems. Taking that point further, I'm interested to see how he does on the glass this year. Due to Cole Aldrich and the Morri he hasn't really been needed to rebound this year, but that changes this year with Thomas Robinson the only plus rebounder on the team (Jeff Withey might be as well, but because of his complete lack of playing time I'm uncomfortable assuming he'll be that good of a rebounder when his playing time is roughly quadrupled).