One-on-One With Tyrel Reed

Feb. 16, 2011


Tyrel Reed grew up with a basketball in his hands and nothing has changed now that he enters his final semester with the Kansas basketball team. Reed is the type of person you would want your son or daughter to look up to. He is a tremendous student in the classroom, he is involved in the community and to top it off, a tremendous basketball player and athlete.

The Burlington, Kan., native graduated in December with a pre-physical therapy/exercise science degree. He needed just three and a half years to complete his coursework and has been accepted to into KU Medical’s Physical Therapy school.

“It was a challenge at times with a full load. Especially being on the road so much and having to work with teachers and take tests on Saturdays when you don’t want to be there. It was just a lot of different things you had to go through. It was all worth it in the end,” Reed said. “I was able to do an internship last semester and it was really nice not to have any school work and I enjoyed that. It was well worth the hard work those three and a half years.”

Reed has been an excellent student since before his high school days. During his time in Lawrence he has been a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team member and has been nominated for Academic All-America each of the past three years.

“I give all the credit to my parents. They are both teachers so they instilled a hard work ethic in me at a young age. School was always a big priority at our house. Then here at KU, I’ve had the privilege of having Scooter (Dr. Scott) Ward as my academic advisor and he’s done a fabulous job of getting me in the right classes and working with me and my schedule,” Reed said. “The reason I focus on academics is because I know basketball is not always going to be there. Basketball is a gift that I’ve been given, to be able to play this game as long as I have. I just know I have to have something to fall back on.”

Reed was recently named one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. It is an award given annually to a student-athlete that must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.

“It’s really cool to be recognized for an award like that when they consider your work in the community and your character and then throw basketball on top of it,” Reed said. “I know there are some other really big names up for it, so it’s just cool to be a nominee for it.”

Reed would join elite company if he were to win the award. KU legend Wayne Simien was the last Jayhawk to win the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award during the 2004-05 season.

“That would be awesome. In a perfect world that would be great, but that’s something I’m not really worried about. I just try to be the best person and player I can be,” Reed said.

So far, Reed has helped his Jayhawks get out to a 24-2 start this season. The guard is the only Jayhawk to have started every game this season and is averaging 9.7 points and three rebounds per game. He leads the team in three-pointers made (50) and free throw percentage (83.1 percent).

“It’s been great so far. There were a lot of expectations at the beginning of the year as far as wondering what type of team we were going to be after losing three players to the NBA. I’m proud of the way this team has played. The twins (Marcus and Markieff Morris) have established themselves as our go-to guys. It’s been a fun year so far. I’ve just been happy to be out there playing with the guys and contributing to the team in any way I can,” Reed said.

021611aaa_993_4517734.jpegReed has made incredible strides since he walked on campus for the first time during his freshman year. He has transformed into a leader for Jayhawk nation and has become a face for the program.

“I have grown so much over the last four years, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually. I’ve grown in so many different ways and I contribute that to being around the great coaching staff, my teammates and people like Wayne Simien to mentor me and help me grow. Words can’t describe how much I’ve grown. I came in as a 170-pound, not knowing anything freshman, and am now at 195 pounds and feel just a lot more confident and sure of myself,” Reed said.

It helps to be coached by one of college basketball’s best coaches in Bill Self. Not many people can say that they were able to play basketball at the Division I level, but for an athlete to say they were coached by one of the nation’s best puts him in even more elite company.

“It’s been great playing for Coach Self. He’s such a personable guy. He cares about each one of his players. He’s going to be hard on you and he’s going to tell you how it is and be honest with you, but that’s just out of your best interest and his love for you. I couldn’t be more proud of a coach and I wouldn’t want to play for any other person,” Reed said.

However, there might be one other coach that ranks right there at the top in Reed’s book. His father, Stacy, was his high school basketball coach at Burlington High School. After Tyrel graduated from high school, Stacy retired from coaching and now travels to see his son play in every single KU game, whether it’s on the road or at home in Allen Fieldhouse.

“It’s been awesome. He was my coach during my senior year of high school and he gave up coaching basketball so he could come watch me play in college. That shows how much he cares about me and how much he loves the game of basketball. I think he’s enjoyed it. My mom comes to as many games on the road as she can without missing too much school,” Reed said.

As a basketball player for the University of Kansas the team members dream about playing for a National Championship year in and year out. Reed was able to live out that dream in just his first year on the team. As a freshman, he was a member of KU’s 2008 NCAA National Championship team.

“I think that is what every KU player dreams of. I didn’t really acknowledge it at the time, but I remember right after the national championship game, Coach Manning came up to Cole Aldrich, Chase Buford, Conner Teahan and I and said, ‘You guys are spoiled. You don’t even know how spoiled you are to win the national championship in your freshman year.’ At the time it didn’t hit me, but when I look back on it I realize how special it was and it makes me want to get back there just that bad my senior year,” Reed said.

Winning a national championship would probably be at the top of anyone’s list of greatest accomplishments. Reed has been a part of four great teams during his tenure at KU. He has won the Big 12 Championship every year at KU. He was a part of KU’s longest home court winning streak of 69 games. He has more than 120 career wins at KU. There’s not a whole lot he hasn’t been a part of.

“I’m extremely proud of being part of that national championship team. It was a great team with great teammates and I love all those guys to this day. A lot of them are in the NBA still playing basketball and I still keep track of them,” Reed said. “It’s hard to choose just one highlight because there are so many, but I’m most proud of just being a Jayhawk. Getting to wear that Crimson and Blue on gameday, getting to run out of that tunnel and having kids look up to you. I’m living out my dream.”

After Reed runs out of that tunnel in Allen Fieldhouse for the last time on Senior Night, many things will come to mind when he thinks back to when he played basketball for the University of Kansas.

Reed explained how he would like to be remembered when he said, “A kid that came here and worked hard and gave it his all every time he stepped on the court. Someone that really loves Kansas for what it is. Not for the name on the back of my jersey, but for what is on the front of my jersey. I want to be remembered as a player that gave his all.”