Travis prepared to use his experience to be a team leader


Kentucky Wildcats forward Reid Travis poses for a portrait during Photo Day in Memorial Coliseum Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Experience and maturity— two things the Kentucky basketball team hasn’t had in a single player in quite some time.

This year that changes with the addition of Stanford graduate Reid Travis.

In June of 2018, Travis announced that he would be taking his talents to UK as a graduate transfer. Travis is the first incoming transfer Kentucky has added since Mychal Mulder in the 2015-2016 season.

Along with his raw basketball talents, the 6-foot-8, 238-pounder brings toughness, physicality and experience to this young Kentucky team, which we saw glimpses of in the Cats’ August trip to the Bahamas.

At Stanford, Travis was a two-time First Team All-Pac-12 selection and three-year captain. Last season he averaged 19.5 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game, which was good for third in the PAC-12. He is one of three players in Stanford program history with at least 1,400 points and 700 rebounds in less than 100 career games, and graduated 16th on Stanford’s career scoring list with 1,427 points and 758 rebounds.

Since being at Kentucky, Travis said the thing that has taken him by surprise the most was Big Blue Nation.

“The fan support is one thing that really hit me,” Travis said. “I know when I decided to come here a lot of people were like, ‘you don’t understand what type of fan support they have until you’re really in it,’ and I didn’t. I mean, everywhere I go people are talking about the games and giving you a lot of support and encouragement.”

Already being a college basketball player for four years, his experience is expected to help Kentucky a lot this year. At the same time, though, Travis says he’s excited to exchange ideas and collaborate with the sophomores who have already played a year of Kentucky basketball and know what it’s like.

Because of his experience and his age, he’ll most likely be viewed as one of the main leaders for this team even though he’s only been a part of the program for a few months. Travis said he expected that to happen before he arrived.

“I knew that because of my age, including my experience, you’re kind of put into that role to be a leader, which is right,” Travis said. “The teams that I’ve been on I’ve always been a captain, I’ve always been a leader, so I take that role on and I like being in that role.”

Travis said he enjoys being around the younger guys because they listen and they’re “hungry,” and he said that’s the biggest thing he could ask for when he’s trying to be the leader of a team.

According to Travis, the Kentucky fan base is sure to give this team extra motivation when the players hit the hardwood this season.

“You kind of just see the passion and the love they have for basketball and they have for you as a team,” Travis said. “It really makes you want to do them proud and really put on for them when you get into these games and work even that much harder.”