Jamari Traylor has plenty of motivation to become a professional basketball player — either in the NBA or overseas.
“That’s pretty much what I need, just to be able to help my mom out a little bit more,” Traylor said of his mother, Tracey Golson. “That would be a dream come true right there.”
Traylor is not the only reserve KU big man who is working to pursue basketball options after graduation.
Hunter Mickelson, who was alongside Traylor at the KU Barnstorming Tour in Leavenworth on April 30, also says he is working out in hopes of continuing his career.
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“I’m hoping to get into the NBA — go the summer league route, however it works. That’s where I really want to go,” Mickelson said. “But of course, I just want to keep playing. I would play overseas obviously. Whatever opportunities come my way, I’ll definitely weigh them and see how they would work for me.”
Mickelson, who hadn’t hired an agent as of April 30, says the main objective over the next few weeks is to get his name out there with hopes that teams show interest. If that happens, the NBA summer league could be an option.
The 6-foot-10 Mickelson started 11 games for KU this season before settling into a reserve role late. He believed he had plenty he could offer a future team.
“Just energy, being a great teammate, wanting to learn,” Mickelson said. “I play good defense, play pretty good offense. Just move the ball around. Whatever they need, I’ll try to fill a spot if there was one.”
Traylor, meanwhile, has hired agent Jarinn Akana of Relativity Sports and already gone through some drills in Las Vegas. Akana is working on getting Traylor workouts with NBA teams.
“(I’ve) just really been working on ballhandling and shooting,” Traylor said. “If I was to be graced to play in the NBA, I’d be a 3 man or maybe a 4. I’ve got to be a little bit better shooter.”
At the KU awards banquet last month, coach Bill Self said he believed Traylor would realistically be someone that would be playing overseas next year. Traylor said he would be happy with that chance.
“That’s every kid’s dream, to play in the NBA. But if that doesn’t happen, I’m still fine with that,” Traylor said. “I know I’ll be in a position to make a lot of money. I’m all right with that.”
Akana has told Traylor that one of his best standout skills is his athleticism.
“That’s pretty much the thing guys look for in the league. I can create a little separation for myself and create an opportunity with my motor and how hard I work,” Traylor said. “If I just go out there focused to try to make a team, then (we’ll) see where we go from there.”
More than anything, Traylor wants to continue to provide for Golson, who still lives in Chicago. He sent part of his cost-of-attendance checks to help her this past season and also helped her out in previous years when he could.
“I’ve got to get her a new place to live at in a safer location,” Traylor said. “That’s definitely going to be the goal right there.”