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Kentucky Basketball: John Calipari and Reid Travis comment on UK commitment

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“He was one of the best big men in the Pac-12 last season, if not the country.”

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Stanford Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Once Reid Travis announced he’d withdraw from the NBA Draft and go the graduate transfer route, we learned he’d consider the Kentucky Wildcats and Villanova Wildcats.

After a visit to Lexington on Tuesday, he made the decision to pick UK now and end his brief recruitment, giving John Calipari one of the best grad transfers the sport has ever seen.

All of this comes in what’s been a wild week for Travis, who just graduated from Stanford on Sunday, then became a Wildcat just three days later.

“Sunday I had the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream of graduating from Stanford University,” Travis said in a press release. “I built relationships and memories at Stanford that will last a lifetime. I’m extremely proud to be able to say that I’m a Stanford alum. I want to thank my friends, coaches, teammates, alumni, professors, administrators and student body for playing such a big role in the man that I’ve become over these past four years.

“With that being said, I’m looking forward to a fresh start and another year of working towards my dreams. As I move on to the next step of my career, I wanted to find a school that will continue to align with my academic and athletic interests. After getting to know the staff and players on my visit, it became clear to me that there was no better place for me to start this next journey in my life then at the University of Kentucky.

“I’m excited to work hard every day and give everything of myself to the program to compete for a national championship and turn the game I love into a profession. Big Blue Nation, I can’t wait to get started.”

Travis is one of the top available players out there this offseason. He was a four-star prospect (Rivals & 247 Sports in the 2014 class that made the McDonald’s All-American Game. ESPN actually gave him a 5-star grade and ranked him 27th overall. That was more indicative of the player Travis has since become in Palo Alto.

In his final season with the Stanford Cardinal, he averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. He averaged double-figure scoring in three of his four seasons at Stanford, and averaged a career-high 8.9 rebounds in 2016-17.

“I felt good about where we stood with next year’s team, but when I found out how much Reid wanted to be here, I had to take a look and say, ‘OK, can he help us? Can he help our team become even more potent and can we help him reach his dreams?’ The answers were absolutely,” UK head coach John Calipari said in a press release.

“You’re talking about a two-time all-conference player who could have very well entered the NBA Draft with what he’s done in his career. He was one of the best big men in the Pac-12 last season, if not the country. Our fans know when it comes to talent and experience, I’m always picking talent, but Reid gives us both.”

When Travis announced he’d transfer, Kentucky was immediately the overwhelming favorite to get the commitment, so it’s no surprise to see he’s already a Cat.