The little brother always follows. Those are the rules. Trevor Releford can tell you that.
The little brother watches. The little brother follows. Sometimes the little brother tries to perfect the family craft.
Back when the Releford boys were growing up in Kansas City, older brother Travis seemed to get most of the attention. He was the prep star at Bishop Miege. He was the swingman who got a scholarship to Kansas. He was a starter on the KU team that played for an NCAA title in 2012.
It’s not that Trevor, two years younger, was toiling in anonymity. He starred at Miege too, leading the Stags to a Kansas state championship. He blazed his own trail at Alabama, compiling one of the best careers in program history.
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But, yes, Trevor was always following. Now he will follow again … into the murky waters of professional basketball.
“He’s always giving me advice,” Trevor said.
Still, after finishing a four-year career at Alabama, Trevor will wait anxiously during the NBA Draft on Thursday night. His chances of going in the second round could be described as slim, but he still has high hopes.
“Just one team needs to love you,” he said.
Listed at 6 feet, Trevor is not big by NBA standards, nor does he possess elite athleticism. But he was good enough to start for four years at Alabama and average 18.5 points per game last season. He’s also prepared to go the free-agent route, hoping to grab a spot on an NBA Summer League team.
Travis, as you would expect, is quite biased, but he thinks his younger brother can be an NBA point guard.
“I feel like he’s got everything that a point guard could have at that (NBA) level,” Travis said. “He’s a great passer. He’s good at getting his teammates involved and making them better, and he also can score. I think if he just continues to work on his body, he should be pretty good.”
If not, Trevor has a nice model for how to go to great lengths to pursue his dream.
Last year, Travis went undrafted after spending five years at Kansas. He won a spot in the NBA Summer League team but later opted to go play for Okapi Aalstar of Belgium’s Ethias League. The elder Releford loved the experience. He had six Americans on his team, he played for an American coach, and nearly everyone in the town of Aalst spoke English.
“You hear a lot of stories about guys going overseas and stuck in bad situations,” Travis said. “But I was lucky to be in good situations. We had a blast. We made it to the championship.”
Just like his younger brother, Travis is again looking for an opportunity on an NBA Summer League roster. A 6-foot-5 wing, Travis tried to refine his outside shooting while in Belgium. A midseason injury sidelined him for a chunk of the season, but he was back in Lawrence in early June, scrimmaging with the current Kansas team.
“Whatever team gives me the opportunity,” Travis said. “I’ll be happy for it.”
Trevor is taking the same approach. A former all-Southeastern Conference performer, he’s ready for any role a team would offer.
In the weeks before the draft, Revor spent time at St. Vincent’s Sports Performance in Indianapolis, working out alongside first-round hopefuls Gary Harris (Michigan State), Glenn Robinson III (Michigan) and Semaj Christon (Xavier). He also worked out for the Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets. Each time, he said, he tried to remember a little bit of advice from his older brother.
“I told him, ‘Don’t stress out about it.’ ” Travis said. “These workouts are for the team to meet you and get a feel for you; they won’t determine if you make the team or not. You just go in there and compete and show that you’re a good person and who knows?”