Reid Travis’ journey to Lexington was quite a bit different from many of his peers on the 2018-19 Kentucky basketball team.
He didn’t just go to prom, compete on the AAU circuit, and participate in All-Star games this past year. Travis was focused on getting his academics in order to graduate from Stanford, all while testing the NBA Draft waters. As a graduate transfer, he’s definitely going to be a one-and-done at Kentucky, just the “22-year-old with a diploma” type.
And he’s perfectly okay with his situation being a little different than everyone else’s. In fact, he welcomes being the “old man” of the team with open arms.
In an article by Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News, Travis documented his current situation, how he grew up around the sport, his journey to both Stanford and Kentucky, and what he expects out of this process. We also heard from Travis’ brother, Jonah, and his excitement for Reid’s opportunity in Lexington, along with John Calipari’s interesting perspective on it all.
The end result? Easily one of the best write-ups of Reid Travis I’ve seen since he got to Kentucky.
He started by talking about the Kentucky fans and just how special the Big Blue Nation is to him. One trip to Trader Joe’s told him all he needed to know about the rabid fan base.
“I went to Trader Joe’s. That’s kind of where I like to go pick up some groceries on the weekend. I get in there and like five people started clapping,” Travis told Sporting News. “A grandma gave me a hug and said, ‘Thank you so much for coming,’ all that stuff. It was almost like I did a service to her, deciding to come here, that’s how happy she was. And was almost tearing up about it.
“I was like, ‘Wow, this is — this is a different type of level.’”
When it came to his big decision as a transfer, Travis said he respected Calipari’s approach to it all. He wasn’t selling the star forward on the glitz and glamour of what Kentucky has to offer, he told him what he needed to work on and why Lexington was the best place to work on his future in basketball.
It was a pitch that was “music to (his) ears.”
“I didn’t want a pat on the back,” Travis said. “I really wanted a situation where it was almost a blank canvas. They told me: ‘You worked hard to accomplish all that stuff, but this is a totally new situation and we’ll put you in uncomfortable spots and challenge you every day.’ That’s music to my ears, because that’s exactly what I was looking for.”
He compares his decision to come to Kentucky to some of his former Stanford classmates and their career decisions. After they graduated, they traveled across the country to work at big-name companies to reach their dreams. So with Kentucky’s track record of developing players and getting them to the NBA, why is his decision any different?
“My biggest thing is, your window to play basketball is so small. To chase that passion, that dream — your body can only play this game for so long. For me, that’s the love that I have right now. That’s the passion I’m chasing. I didn’t transfer out of Stanford and not get my degree; that was one of the biggest goals for me. And then I had a year to kind of chase what I wanted to.
“A lot of my classmates that I finished with go on to work at Google, Facebook, YouTube, and they go do these great things and go across country they go work at these great companies. I kind of look at it as the same deal.”
I could go on and on with awesome quotes and segments from the piece, but DeCourcy’s article deserves the clicks and attention. Do yourself a favor and check out the incredible article here.