A couple months back, whispers of a potential Reid Travis transfer began to surface. Almost immediately, the Kentucky Wildcats were seen as a potential landing spot.
When the star transfer went through the NBA Draft process and couldn’t secure a first-round guarantee, those whispers grew louder. Finally, several recruiting analysts reported Travis would be taking his name out of the draft, but would be headed elsewhere for his final year of eligibility. Kentucky was the runaway favorite.
Now that the 6-foot-8 forward is officially a Wildcat, his former head coach at Stanford says the decision wasn’t a surprise to him in the slightest.
“I wasn’t blindsided by Reid Travis,” Stanford head coach Jerod Haase told basketball analyst Jon Rothstein. “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.”
That doesn’t mean he’s happy about it.
Haase told Rothstein that it’s like “being penalized a scholarship” because the decision happened so late in the process.
“There’s only been four players who have transferred as undergraduates in the history of Stanford basketball, but what happened could create a whole new dynamic,” Haase added. “We feel that redshirting guys could benefit the program long-term, but now there’s proof that someone who has a Stanford degree could still opt to go elsewhere. You think that you’re immune to that stuff when you’re at a place like Stanford, but we learned that we’re not. It’s virtually impossible to get transfers in here and because of the academic standards, spring recruiting is minimal. Losing a player at that time of year is almost like being penalized a scholarship because of an NCAA violation.”
Kentucky head coach John Calipari has been against graduate transfers ever since he arrived in Lexington, especially when Damion Lee transferred out of Drexel back in 2015. As a result, Bruiser Flint, one of Calipari’s best friends and the head coach of the Dragons, was fired.
“What happened was, the NCAA has a rule that a kid can leave a program like Drexel after being coached and molded for three years and go to another school without having to sit out,” Calipari said in a voicemail to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Dick Jerardi. “If (Damion) Lee is there, they’re in the NCAA Tournament. We’re not even talking in these terms, but that happened.”
To earn a degree from Stanford and then transfer to a basketball powerhouse like Kentucky? For a chance to play for a Final Four in his hometown of Minneapolis? You can’t blame him, and we’re certainly happy for it.
Doesn’t make it any easier for the Stanford program.