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Reid Travis’ struggles are because his game is evolving

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Travis and UK are working to take his game to a new level, and we’ve already seen glimpses of it.

Reid Travis Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

Reid Travis’ Bahamas performances certainly weren’t bad, but they were also certainly less than perfect.

That isn’t necessarily surprising. The two-time All-Pac 12 player has to transition to a new team and a new culture. But he’s also making a transition in his individual game.

According to James Clark, a Philadelphia trainer who worked with Travis while he was testing the NBA Draft, the goal was to make Travis more versatile, and less about the physically imposing play that he’d thrived on.

“Making Reid a stretch four was our intent,” Clark said in an interview with Jon Hale of the Louisville Courier Journal. “… My biggest fear was him going to Kentucky and Cal putting him on the block, which I hoped wasn’t going to be the case.”

Travis’ performances in the Bahamas may have been a perfect microcosm of his transition efforts. He struggled in the first three games, and his total field-goal percentage wound up being just 34.1 percent. The most seasoned veteran on the team was only the fifth-highest scorer.

But that fourth and final game was huge, as Travis shot 50 percent from the field, scoring 19 point and bringing in 15 rebounds. He even went 2 for 3 from 3-point range, a great example of improved versatility.

“I didn’t want an easy path,” Travis said, according to the Courier Journal. “So, it’s almost a great learning experience for me to come down here and have some of the struggles that I did, because I just understand those are things I need to work on and understand where I’m at in the process.”

That’s the play that John Calipari will hope to get from Travis. He’s not going to be in the post as much as he was before—he’ll play a more modern big man role—but he’ll still be expected to be the team’s primary rebounder.

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