clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: The Value Of Reid Travis Edition

Yes, Reid Travis is big, strong, skilled and experienced, and will make an impact in the middle next season. But his value extends beyond his game.

Washington v Stanford Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.

There have been a lot of significant happenings in Kentucky sports over the last week, including multiple football commitments and one significant basketball commitment that I’d like to discuss today: The matriculation of Stanford graduate transfer Reid Travis to Kentucky.

In the article above, Drew Koch discusses some of the most important things that Travis brings with him from the west coast, including experience, rebounding and depth in the front court. But for my money, the most valuable part of Travis’ game is something that has been lacking at UK since Karl-Anthony Towns was here — effective aggression in the post.

Now, we have seen guys like PJ Washington try to be aggressive in the paint, but what resulted was a season full of charging calls from the freshman forward. Bam Adebayo suffered much the same problem when he tried to be aggressive. Not since KAT have we had a big man who was able to be effective while being aggressive around the rim, and understood how much contact was too much, and where.

Travis brings that to Kentucky. He’s been at Stanford since 2014, redshirting due to injury his sophomore season. In the last two seasons, Reid was the most efficient offensive player on Stanford’s team, the vast majority of that accomplished within bad-breath range of the rim. Travis understands how much contact, and where, you can get away with.

Where this is most valuable is for the young guys. Karl-Anthony Towns got to learn from older players like Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress what effective aggression looked like. Since then, Kentucky has been bereft of either a player capable of that kind of game (for example, Skal Labissiere in 2016) or without a mentor a la 2017 and 2018. The result has been the lack of a consistent, serious post threat. That’s about to change with Reid Travis.

Not only is Travis a full-grown man with about as much experience at the college level as it’s possible to have under NCAA rules, he has serious skills as a former five-star recruit who chose Stanford over Duke and who’s widely considered to be among the strongest players in the college game. But his value to Kentucky goes much deeper than his game and his skill. Along with his leadership, mentoring Kentucky’s young big guys, and showing them how to be effective in the college game may be his most significant impact of all.

Also, lest I totally neglect just how good he is, consider this from the Oregon Ducks’ 247Sports site:

Travis was in my mind the league’s best player set to return for the 2018-19 basketball season. He was in my mind the clear-cut Player of the Year going into the season, and a key piece to getting Stanford back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014. Now the conference loses its best player coming back, Stanford goes from a team who should make the NCAA Tournament to a team who might make it, and the Player of the Year race becomes wide open. [my emphasis]

Obviously, the writer at the time had no idea Travis was considering Kentucky and he was writing from an Oregon post-season honors perspective, but this is a clear example of how highly esteemed Travis was among his peer school’s analysts. Landing a player like Travis for his senior season was a rare gem of a sales job even for a recruiter as accomplished as Coach Cal, and it has to make us a favorite for the 2019 NCAA Tournament title.

Tweet of the Morning

Coach Cal, your office on line 1.

Your Quickies:

Kentucky football
Kentucky basketball
Other Kentucky sports
Links posts
College football
College basketball
Other sports news
Other news