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Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Battle for Reid Travis may come down to UK vs Duke

If Reid Travis returns to school and opts to be a grad transfer, UK and Duke may be battling for his services.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Stanford John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Reid Travis isn’t even officially a graduate transfer yet, but he’s already generating a lot of buzz for next season.

Reid, who began his career with the Stanford Cardinal, is currently testing the NBA Draft waters as a redshirt junior. He’s expected to graduate and be able to play immediately at another school if he bypasses the draft.

For now, neither ESPN nor CBS have Travis in their NBA Draft big boards, so he may end up waiting until next year to pursue his pro career.

Reid has already been mentioned as someone UK could be keeping tabs on, and SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker is hearing the same.

In fact, Tucker reports that if Travis ultimately returns to school and becomes a grad transfer, it could turn into a battle between the Wildcats and Duke Blue Devils for his services.

That makes perfect sense, as both teams could be in the market for another impact big man, depending on who else leaves for the NBA Draft. Duke has already lost Marvin Bagley, and Wendell Carter Jr. is weighing his pro options. If both leave, Duke’s projected starting frontcourt is Zion Williamson and Marques Bolden.

At UK, you know how PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel are also seriously considering a jump to the pros. If UK loses just one of them, then they should pursue another big man for next season, preferably a grad transfer.

Ironically, both teams could be the preseason No. 1 and 2 teams next season, and they face each other in the regular-season opener. Travis may not be getting much NBA interest, but he’s still one of the best returning big men in college hoops next season if he passes on the NBA.

Travis could easily elevate one of these two teams from Final Four contender to national title favorite, so it only makes sense that his decision could come down to the sport’s two best programs.

Another interesting fact about Travis is he’s originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, home of the 2019 Final Four. He’d probably love nothing more than to be playing on college basketball’s biggest stage in his hometown, so picking a serious title contender like Duke or UK would make the most sense if he wants to make those dreams a reality.

That is, if Travis passes on the NBA and decides to leave Stanford. There’s still a chance he returns to Stanford or just leaves college altogether to pursue his NBA dreams.

Don’t expect a final decision until closer to the NCAA withdrawal deadline on May 30.