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Why Reid Travis came to UK

Travis’ former and current coach weigh in on what brought him to the Bluegrass and what his goals are.

Jeremy Chisenhall

The Stanford Cardinal lost it’s most productive player in Reid Travis when he decided to go the graduate transfer route and go to Kentucky.

That’s a loss of 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game for the program, but Stanford head coach Jerod Haase said he wasn’t blindsided by Travis’ decision, which came in part because he has big NBA aspirations, and Kentucky has helped many players reach those dreams.

“I wasn’t blindsided by Reid Travis,” Haase said, according to Jon Rothstein of Fan Rag Sports. “After the season we sat down, and he told me that he wanted to be a first-round pick and he wanted to go through the NBA Draft process. So we knew that him not being here was a possibility.”

The team will certainly miss Travis’ production, and Haase said that you think at a place like Stanford they wouldn’t have to worry about graduate transfers as much. But Travis’ decision still makes sense.

Travis got his degree from Stanford and now will finish his college basketball career at Kentucky, something that John Calipari is amazed by.

“He graduated from Stanford, now he’s going to finish his basketball at Kentucky,” Calipari said when the team met fans last week. “What? I mean, that’s pretty good stuff. What a great attitude about what he wants to do.”

On Thursday, Calipari further expanded on what brought Travis to Kentucky, as well as his hopes of making his NBA dreams a reality.

“First of all the culture is about really spending time in this and really being trained, and then understanding that there’s competition. So you’re not just doing this yourself. You’re going against other guys that are as good as you, maybe better.

“So with him (Travis), you’ve got him and PJ (Washington) and we’ve got a couple of 7-footers that, you know, learn to play with these big guys; also learn and compete at the level every day and let’s see where this goes.

“I told him, movement. The league (NBA) is going to movement. The league is going to stretching out the court. Don’t get away from who you are. You’re a physically strong, long, active – that’s who you are, but let’s stretch this out. I think a lot of it is – like, in front of the team I said, ‘Reid, how are you going to be? You averaged 20 points and nine rebounds last year. What if you only average 14 points this year? Are you going to be alright with that?’

“So this thing is different. This is about working and having competition every day. It’s about sacrificing. The last thing is you’ve got to trust this process and trust what we’re trying to do. I see him with the ability to lead because he’s a veteran even though he’s not been here.”

Travis now joins one of the most loaded teams Kentucky has seen (on paper, at least). With him, PJ Washington, Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery in the front court, the team will have plenty of beef down low.