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Reid Travis Update and Roundtable predictions

Breaking down what Reid Travis would mean to the Cats and making predictions.

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Media Day Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Reid Travis has began his first visit as a graduate transfer today, and it’s taking place in Lexington, Kentucky.

According to Marcus Fuller of the Minnesota Star-Tribune, Travis is now on Kentucky’s campus.

Travis has a chance to make a huge impact wherever he goes. Getting an experienced, talented and productive big man is priceless in today’s college landscape.

So, it makes sense then that Travis would consider two of the top programs in the nation in the Villanova Wildcats and Kentucky Wildcats.

As a graduate transfer, Travis will be immediately eligible, and as a 19.5-point, 8.7-rebound performer he’ll play a major impact right away.

Travis has a legitimately tough decision. Villanova is the defending National Champion, and head coach Jay Wright has his team in the title conversation every single year these days.

Meanwhile, Kentucky is absolutely loaded next year with a plethora of experienced players to go alongside a top-tier recruiting class (yet again). Travis would only make the team better, especially in the frontcourt where the Cats have depth, but could use some more experienced talent.

So the ultimate question becomes: where does Travis think he can excel the most in his final season of college basketball?

Ahead of his visit to UK, Travis not publicly set a visit with Villanova, which is a great sign for Kentucky. It suggests he’s very open to picking the SEC Wildcats this week. It also just so happens that John Calipari seems to think his roster could be set by next week.

If that’s the case, than it’s hard to see Kentucky not being the pick.

And for what it’s worth, Minnesota Star-Tribune reporter Sid Hartman calls it “a cinch” that Travis picks Kentucky.

Check out predictions from the A Sea of Blue staff below.

Jamie Boggs

Whether or not you agree with players transferring to other Division I programs, Reid Travis is a player you would not turn down if he wanted to play for your program. He was very close to being a 20 and 10 guy, and was in contention for Pac 12 Player of the Year.

If Travis joins Kentucky, he will be the perfect complement to play alongside the other big men on the roster. He is a bull underneath the basket and has the kind of toughness in the pain that John Calipari’s recent teams have been missing. His commitment could be the difference between Kentucky being a Final Four contender and a Final Four favorite.

I think he chooses Kentucky, and I think he does so soon to ensure he can be a part of the Bahamas trip.

Prediction: Kentucky

Drew Koch

Reid Travis was Stanford’s leading scorer and rebounder from last year, so he obviously brings that to the table. At 6-8, 240 pounds, Travis can bang down low. The 3-point shot wasn’t even part of his arsenal until this season.

Travis took only one 3-pointer through his first 61 games at Stanford. This past season, he took 61 shots from behind the arc and hit less than 30 percent, so while it is a part of his game, Travis is best when he’s on the low block.

Travis will not be the best interior defender if he joins the Wildcats next year. He had only four blocks all of last season, and two of those came in one game against Washington State. There’s also another aspect of Travis’ game where he struggles, and Big Blue Nation isn’t going to like it. He’s not good at the charity stripe. Travis is a career 62 percent free-throw shooter.

Travis would be a nice addition to Kentucky, and would add quality depth and experience behind PJ Washington at the four spot. However, with all the departures suffered by the Villanova Wildcats, Jay Wright’s Wildcats are much more desperate for Travis’ services and provide a higher likelihood of playing time.

Having just won the National Championship has to be enticing for Travis, as does likely being part of Nova’s starting-five. That being said, being part of a loaded Kentucky squad with a chance to compete for a national title, while playing for a coach who has a history of getting guys to the NBA isn’t too shabby either.

Prediction: In the end, I give UK the edge to land Travis, and I give them a 75 percent chance to do so.

Adam Haste

With the commitment of Reid Travis possibly around the corner, the 6-8 forward could bring a lot to the table next season as the Cats look to have a special year.

Travis, in his time at Stanford, has shown that he can get the ball down low and use his strength and skills to make a move and score at the rim. He also has a nice jumper and for NBA reasons, he needs to show that off. So, with the return of PJ Washington and the addition of EJ Montgomery, Kentucky seems to be the perfect fit for Travis.

He would provide a lot of help in practice as Nick Richards and other forwards will have to go up against him every day.

Prediction: Kentucky

John Morgan Francis

Reid Travis is a double-double machine, posting 16 of them in 35 games last season. He and PJ Washington have the same build and the same play style. Some may see that as a negative, but when it’s late in the second half and the other defense is tired of guarding them in the paint, it’ll greatly benefit Kentucky.

Travis also expanded his shooting range last season, putting up 61 3-point attempts. While he only made 18, the volume shows he’s willing to step out and at least try to make a few. For a team that is expected to have both elite shooting from it’s guards, as well as multiple players who can attack the basket, an outside shooting big man would make life much easier for his teammates.

Keep in mind Travis would also be a graduate transfer. He’s 22 now and will turn 23 as the season starts. Having an “older guy” to lead a group of freshmen and sophomores would be a luxury John Calipari is usually scarce of.

Villanova is also reportedly considered a top suitor for Travis, however despite last season’s result, if he’s interested in winning a title then the Bluegrass state is where he needs to be.

Prediction: Kentucky

Shane Shackelford

I really like Travis. He was a 20-10 guy in a high-major conference. He’s a physical big and can play the 4-5 with ease. I have always thought you can’t have enough quality bigs. A possible front line of PJ Washington, Nick Richards and Travis is very intriguing.

I’m hoping that we put such a hard sell on him we sign him before he can make the trip to Philadelphia to visit Villanova. The biggest card UK can play is they produce elite NBA bigs.

Prediction: Kentucky

Drew Brown

I believe that adding an experienced player like Reid Travis to a young roster would prove to benefit Kentucky both on and off the court. Travis has proven he can be a major producer at a high level by averaging nearly 20 points and nine rebounds a game last year at Stanford.

He was selected for the first team All-Pac-12 and would bring some maturity that UK could absolutely benefit from. A PJ Washington and Reid Travis frontcourt would be a force that any opposing team will struggle to have answers for. I really want him to choose Kentucky.

The decision of where Travis will play his final year in college is going to come down to a battle of Wildcats. Both Villanova and Kentucky are said to be the only likely landing spots for the big man.

There are not too many coaches or programs than can preach winning over John Calipari. But with two recent National Championships, Jay Wright may be able to do exactly that.

Travis has put out videos showcasing his improving jump shot and efforts to become a more well-rounded NBA prospect. So if his ultimate goal is to attend a school where he can best prepare himself for a future in the NBA, then it will be difficult for me to imagine Travis not picking UK.

My personal opinion is that he above all does want to use this final year to work on his game and position himself to be drafted. There is no program that grants that opportunity more than the University of Kentucky.

Prediction: Kentucky

Andrew Galayda

Reid Travis is one of the best talents to hit the transfer market in recent years. His ability to finish at the rim and attack the glass makes him such an intriguing prospect with added experience.

Defensively, he is not as dominant as other bigs in college basketball, but by no means is he a liability on the floor. For the Cats, if they were to add Travis next season I believe they immediately become a title contender. Having a rotation of Travis, Washington, Montgomery and Richards would provide a much needed depth in the front court.

Yes, I know Coach Cal has taken shots at the grad transfer rule, but I think Travis is too good of a player not to add to next year’s roster, and Travis played at a Power 5 school prior, which makes it a little easier of a pill for Cal to swallow. It comes down to Kentucky and Villanova for his services, so Kentucky getting the first visit could be crucial on where Travis lands.

Prediction: Kentucky

Nick Wheatley

It’s pretty simple. It’s either the Kentucky Wildcats or the Villanova Wildcats for Reid Travis. Which Wildcats will he pick?

Travis was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school that chose Stanford over Duke. And despite the rumors a couple months ago that he may be interested in Duke, that never came to fruition. If that isn’t enough reason to like him, then here’s some more.

Travis is a bruising big man that is very similar to PJ Washington in both the way he plays and his body type. This past season at Stanford, he averaged 19.5 ppg and 8.7 rpg. So, not only has he lived up to his McDonald’s All-American potential, but he did so in a Power 5 conference and now he has three (and a half) years of experience under his belt.

The only reason he isn’t in the NBA Draft right now is because of his height. But don’t let that fool you.

Travis is 6-8 and 245 pounds of muscle. He has good hands, good athleticism, he’s dangerous when he attacks the basket, and he relentlessly pursues rebounds. PAC-12 coaches described him as “amazing” and “aaaaaaaamazing,” and they were more than happy that he won’t be dominating their teams anymore.

Travis is a different kind of one-and-done and has the potential to come in and possibly be the best big man on the team. He’s that good. He will use this season to improve his draft stock and his 3-point shooting. He’s a smart kid. He has a degree from Stanford University. And while Villanova is a great academic school, I think Travis’ decision comes down to two things.

First, he wants to win a National Championship. Even though Villanova has won the championship two of the last three years, they lost a lot to the NBA Draft this year and may not be quite as good this coming up year.

Meanwhile, Kentucky is going to be absolutely loaded next season and could be one of the top favorites to win it all even without Travis. Second, he wants to improve his draft stock and what better place to do that than Kentucky.

Some NBA teams will pick players from Kentucky simply because they went to Kentucky. If a player wants to make it to the NBA and succeed, no other coach has a better resume than John Calipari. And I think Travis recognizes that.

With all that being said, Travis visits Kentucky on Tuesday and I think he either commits while he’s there or shortly thereafter putting the icing on the cake for what will be a stacked Kentucky roster next season.

Prediction: Kentucky

What are your thoughts and predictions on Reid Travis?