By LARRY VAUGHT
Fifth-year senior center Reid Travis could be the key for Kentucky beating Louisville Saturday in the Yum Center because it appears the Cardinals should have trouble matching up with him inside. He certainly seems to have accepted that role and is ready for Saturday’s challenge based on what he said Friday.
On how he has embraced the physical nature of what he’s being asked to do … “It’s a part of it. When I’m down there, just trying to fight for the rebounds. On the defensive end, just kind of grind it out and things like that and that comes with it. Every day in practice, I’m trying to do exactly what I’m going to do in the game. So, that kind of comes with the arm scratches and things like that. Just battle, that’s the biggest thing. If I can show that I can anchor the defense from the back, just battling and making those tough plays really is going to help our team.”
On finishing at the rim with contact … “More comfortable, just going straight up. Obviously, we’re a team that’s going to get a lot of ‘and-ones’ because we play physical, post guys are trying to lean into you and get baskets. But, just being more conscious of when you get the ball, just go straight up. If they foul you, they foul you, but just focus on making your shot. Not so much seeking out contact on the offensive end, but just being comfortable going into your shot and if the contact comes, knowing that you’re going to be able to make the basket and get the ‘and-one’ I think is the biggest shift in mindset that we have to have.”
On if he’s focused more on playing inside rather than out on the floor … “Not really. That’s what they need me to do in some of these games. They feel like we have the advantage in the post, so if that’s what is drawn up and we need to seal guys and get easy baskets, those are high-percentage shots so we’re going to try to do that. Me, PJ (Washington), Nick (Richards), EJ (Montgomery), those are good looks for us. I do feel comfortable around there and I’ve had a lot of experience down there, so it kind of helps us be successful on the offensive end if I can get those looks.”