Having a grad transfer on the roster is not common at Kentucky.
In fact, since John Calipari’s arrival in 2009, there’s only been two: Julius Mays (2012-13 from Wright State and Reid Travis (2018-19) from Stanford.
In his lone season at Kentucky, Travis made huge impacts on and off the court.
On the court, the big man averaged 11.3 points per game while shooting 53.1%. In addition, he added 7.3 rebounds per game.
Off the court, he served as a leader and mentor to a Kentucky roster that saw all nine players in their rotation being either sophomores or freshman.
“It’s great to have a veteran like Reid on the team”. Freshman Tyler Herro told the media before Kentucky’s Elite Eight clash with Auburn. “Obviously he’s been through a lot. So whenever we need the advice or anything like that, we can go to him.
As for Travis, the decision on foregoing the NBA Draft and transferring to Kentucky was made for one simple reason. To get better in a hurry.
Saturday, Travis said this to the media when talking about his choice to come to Kentucky:
“As far as just being able to prepare a player in one year for what they want to do, getting a collective group of guys who never played with each other in one year, you’ve got to accelerate the process to win at a high level,”
With the season now over the question for Reid is, of course, was it worth it?
Based on his response when reflecting upon his season at Kentucky, the answer is clearly a resounding yes.
“Obviously being able to come here, it’s been a blessing and thankful for the opportunities. Lot of emotions not being able to finish it the way I wanted to, but that doesn’t take away from the experience that I had. This has been one of the best years of my life playing basketball, and I just wanted to end it the right way with this group of guys.” Travis told the media after the game Sunday.
It doesn’t get better than that. Not many people knew what to expect with Travis coming in. Would Calipari find him proper playing time? Would Travis be annoyed having to deal with a young and less mature team?
Instead, he had one of the best years of his life, and he was a huge reason why Kentucky won 30 games and made it to the Elite Eight.