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Kentucky Basketball: What to expect from Reid Travis

A rare known commodity suited up for the Wildcats this fall.

Jeremy Chisenhall

All of these other player preview posts have been based on scouting reports, AAU performance, and some limited college experience.

Reid Travis, however, is entering his fifth year of college basketball. It is a little easier to know what he brings to this Kentucky Wildcats team.

But how will he fit into the puzzle with the rest of this talented roster?

Travis averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds for Stanford in 2017-2018 and 17.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game the year before. He has been the ideal college post player, owning the boards and scoring around the basket consistently.

At 6’8” tall, Travis is a tight-end type post player. A combination of length and strength that can overpower smaller players but utilize agility to score on traditional centers. Strong enough to defend the post but just quick enough to not get abused on pick and roll switches.

In addition to being a two time first-team All-Pac-12 selection, Travis leaves Stanford as the 16th leading scorer of all-time and No. 10 on the all-time rebounding list. He definitely made his mark in the Pac-12 during his career, and really stepped his game up against talented players like DeAndre Ayton.

Travis has shown that he can play bully ball when needed, and he will need to be that guy when playing alongside EJ Montgomery or Nick Richards.

But when PJ Washington is on the court, Travis will be able to stretch the court a little more and make plays off the dribble or with back-door cuts.

His versatility as a big man is what really makes him special, and that is the beauty about how he will fit with this team. I do not expect Travis to average 20 and 10 this season, but I do expect him to be the leading rebounder on this team and to get points when called upon.

Obviously, as the only senior on the team with real experience Travis will be the most seasoned defender on the team. You cannot underestimate the value of putting an all-conference senior defender against some of the young stars Kentucky will face in the paint this season.

“He’s just a natural leader,” said James Clark, a personal trainer and coach who worked with Travis while he was testing the NBA draft waters earlier this spring.” This guy is just an athlete. He’s a winner. People gravitate toward his energy. He’ll make others better just by how hard he plays. He’s not going to settle for anybody else not playing just as hard.”

Travis is a type of player we have not seen at Kentucky in quite some time, and he’s someone former California coach Cuonzo Martin is not happy to see again in the SEC.

“You’re talking about 240 pounds. Strong, physical, tough,” said Martin, now the head coach of Missouri. “And he played football in high school. Runs the floor. His strength level reminds me a lot of Jarnell Stokes, who we had at Tennessee. Just a strong, physical guy. So he puts you in the mode of Jarnell Stokes. He’ll beat you when he’s on offense and defense because he’s so physical. He plays hard. He’s one of those guys. He embraces contact and physicality.”

Perhaps the most similar style we have seen is that of Patrick Patterson, and that also applies to his leadership potential as the veteran on this young team.

To get more excited about what Travis is bringing to Lexington this fall, check out the highlight video below from his 2017-2018 season at Stanford. He may end up being the one recruit, albeit an unconventional one, that puts this team over the top.

What are you expecting from Travis this coming season?