By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky fans were anxious to see just what Stanford graduate transfer Reid Travis would look like during UK’s exhibition games in the Bahamas.
He showed them plenty, too, and Kentucky fans are even more giddy now than they were when he opted to take his name out of the NBA draft and then transferred to UK to join a roster that seemed to have everything except an experienced, physical inside player like him.
“Kentucky has not had a guy like Travis,” said ESPN recruiting director Paul Biancardi. “I have always loved him. He’s always been a winner. I have appreciated his game and just having his experience in high level games is big. His willingness to come to a loaded roster and still be comfortable tells me how competitive he is. A lot of guys would have run away from a roster like this. He embraced it.”
Travis’s importance to Kentucky was not lost on SEC Network analyst Dan Dakich, who can be blunt with his analysis and is not always a UK fan favorite. However, before UK’s first exhibition game he labeled UK not only as a Final Four team but the team that would win the national championship.
“Reid Travis is a perfect fit for Kentucky. I think they are the favorites to win the national championship with him,” Dakich said. “He will be fine. If they have 99 problems, he ain’t one of them. Reid Travis on the block is going to be death all year long.”
Travis’s numbers were not mind boggling in the Bahamas. He averaged 10.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He was only 15 of 44 from the field but made 11 of 14 free throws (78 percent). However, assistant coach Joel Justus emphasized that numbers are not everything.
“He is going to be really good in our system. There are going to be times he will struggle right now but he is playing hard,” Justus said. “These young guys are so blessed to have him. They love playing with him. He is doing outstanding things for our basketball team that are not showing in the boxscore and will do that all season.”