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Kentucky Basketball: 3 Ways Reid Travis Can Impact UK Next Season

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Travis will have a huge impact for UK now that he’s coming to Lexington for next season.

Washington v Stanford Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

UPDATE

Reid Travis is now a Wildcat, so get ready for a special 2018-19 season in Lexington!


Reid Travis is set to visit Lexington this week as he’s deciding between Kentucky and Villanova. Ahead of his visit, let’s explore the three biggest ways that Travis could change the Wildcats’ fortunes next season.

1. Reid Travis brings experience to yet another young Wildcats’ roster.

By now, all of Big Blue Nation knows that while Kentucky is guided by John Calipari, the Wildcats will have consistent turnover and constantly be developing young players. Take thi past season for example. The Cats lost 5 players to the NBA Draft, and because of that, even with three returning sophomores, UK will still be one of the youngest teams in the country next season.

If Reid Travis chooses UK, he automatically will become a leader in the Cats locker room. During his time at Stanford, Travis played in 98 games and started 82 of them, including every game the past three seasons.

In all of UK’s deep postseason runs since Cal became the coach, they’ve had solid upperclassmen as important cogs in the lineup. Patrick Patterson, Willie Cauley-Stein, Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins and Josh Harrellson just to name a few.

2. Reid Travis provides the rebounding that UK lost with Vanderbilt’s NBA decision

Let’s face it, a lot of Kentucky fans were bummed when they heard Jarred Vanderbilt was foregoing his sophomore season and keeping his name in the NBA Draft. While most Cats fans understand it, they don’t have to be happy about it.

Vanderbilt showed, in his limited time in Lexington, an innate ability to grab rebounds on both the offensive and defensive glass. In 14 games, Vanderbilt averaged 7.9 rebounds, and grabbed double digit rebounds on four separate occasions.

Travis is a proven rebounder and can fill the void left by Vanderbilt. He averaged 8.7 rebounds in 2018, and even more (8.9) in 2017. Those numbers are better than Vanderbilt’s, but to be fair, he put up those number in more minutes played.

Travis did put up an incredible seven straight games with 10 or more rebounds to close the season for the Cardinal. He snagged double digit rebounds in 42.8% of his games played in the 2017-18 season.

3. Reid Travis gives the Kentucky Wildcats another big in a lineup loaded with guards

The Kentucky Wildcats are going to be guard heavy next season. Quade Green and Jermal Baker are returning next season. Calipari also added Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley and Tyler Herro to the UK backcourt.

While Cal was able to snag freshman EJ Montgomery, who will surely be a featured member of the Kentucky front court, the Cats are still thin in regards to their big men.

PJ Washington will no doubt be starting the Wildcats’ front court. However, if Washington or Montgomery find themselves in foul trouble, the only big body Calipari can turn to is Nick Richards.

Richards has a lot of potential, and most of BBN are expecting improvement from the 6’11” Jamaica native. But, Cats fans would be foolish to say they feel comfortable with Nick Richards as their only big off the bench.

Travis is 6’8”, and while he’s more of a forward than a center, the college game isn’t dominated by 7-footers. At 6’8”, Travis could guard most other team’s man in the middle.

Reid Travis has a decision to make. Will he join the National Champion Villanova Wildcats or the Kentucky Wildcats?

For UK, Travis adds insurance, depth, rebounding, size and scoring. He was the leading scorer for Stanford last year with 19.5 points per game. Travis would be a huge get for Cal in a season where most pundits already have them as a top five team to start next season.