Eagle-eyed University of Kentucky basketball fans who have been poring over the early photos and videos from the team’s first few summer practice sessions might have noticed something interesting.
There are no highlights of newcomer Reid Travis.
A UK spokesman told the Herald-Leader on Monday that Travis is indeed on campus — he’s been featured in other, non-practice preseason videos — but he’s not yet allowed to participate in on-court skill instruction activities with the Wildcats.
Travis, who graduated from Stanford last month and announced his transfer to UK shortly thereafter, has to be officially admitted into UK’s graduate school program before he can be involved with any skill instruction, the Herald-Leader was told. That process is expected to be completed soon, and it’s simply part of the formality that graduate transfers must go through when changing schools. Travis is allowed to take part in all other team activities in the meantime.
The rest of the team is currently permitted to participate in four hours of skill instruction per week, an increase from the two-hours-per-week limit in previous offseasons. The Cats will start their Bahamas tour Aug. 6.
The official UK basketball Twitter account also posted a short interview with Travis following the team’s daylong “Big Blue Caravan” train tour of Frankfort, Midway and Lexington last week, when the Cats met with fans at all three stops.
“It was a great day meeting all the fans that came out today,” Travis said. “I appreciate everybody. For me, it was especially important — getting to spend time and meet everyone for the first time. I really do see the power of Big Blue Nation now.”
Travis — a 6-foot-9 power forward who averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds at Stanford last season — will be the only scholarship upperclassman on this season’s UK roster, and he’ll be counted upon to immediately provide a front-court boost and some veteran leadership for another group of young Wildcats.
Calipari was asked during last week’s Southeastern Conference coaches’ teleconference how playing one final season at UK would benefit Travis’ basketball future.
“First of all the culture is about really spending time in this and really being trained, and then understanding that there’s competition,” Calipari said. “So you’re not just doing this yourself. You’re going against other guys that are as good as you, maybe better. So with him, you’ve got him and PJ (Washington) and we’ve got a couple of 7-footers that, you know, learn to play with these big guys; also learn and compete at the level every day and let’s see where this goes. I told him, movement. The (NBA) is going to movement. The league is going to stretching out the court. Don’t get away from who you are. You’re a physically strong, long, active — that’s who you are, but let’s stretch this out. I think a lot of it is — like, in front of the team, I said, ‘Reid, how are you going to be? You averaged 20 points and nine rebounds last year. What if you only average 14 points this year? Are you going to be all right with that?’
“So this thing is different. This is about working and having competition every day. It’s about sacrificing. The last thing is you’ve got to trust this process and trust what we’re trying to do. I see him with the ability to lead because he’s a veteran even though he’s not been here.”