Sports

Stanford freshman Travis already filling some big shoes

 

If shoe size matters, freshman forward Reid Travis is destined to have a great career for the Stanford men's basketball team.

The 6-foot-8, 240-pounder from Minneapolis, Minn. wears a size 18 sneaker. That's the same size of former Cardinal standout Mark Madsen, although ex-Stanford stars Brook and Robin Lopez, both playing in the NBA, check in at 20. But, they're both over 7 feet tall.

Travis has something else in common with the Lopez twins: He is the first McDonald's All-American Game participant to play for Stanford since they arrived on The Farm in 2006, and only the school's seventh overall.

"Reid will be physically and mentally ready to have an impact on us right away," Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins. "Reid has always been extremely effective around the basket, but we have always believed in his skill level and versatility."

A five-star recruit, Travis averaged 26.1 points and 9.0 rebounds last season while leading DeLaSalle High to its third consecutive Class AAA state title. Selected the co-state player of the year, he was ranked among the top 50 players in the country by almost every scouting service.

He has started all five games for Stanford (4-1), averaging 7.8 points and 8.0 rebounds. Travis has grabbed 23 rebounds combined over the past two games heading into Sunday's game at DePaul.

This, despite rehabbing much of the summer following arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

"I hurt it about two weeks before I came out to summer school in mid-June," Travis said. "I wasn't quite sure what happened. I was playing a lot of pick-up ball and my knee was sore. I came out here and they did all the tests and the doctors looked at it and saw I had some loose cartilage."

Even with the setback, Travis was ready for fall camp and quickly made a good impression.

"Early on, I wasn't expecting to start," he said. "I was a little behind the eight-ball with everybody else knowing the sets and getting a feel for the team. But after a week or two of practice, I thought I was well-prepared. I definitely feel there is a spot for me for my voice to be heard."

Reid said playing in the McDonald's All-American Game was an eye-opening experience on and off the court. Especially the latter.

"Just to go to the Ronald McDonald House and work with the different charity outlets in the Chicago community," said Travis. "It was really spreading our will and joy to people that are less fortunate than us. Some of the kids were deathly ill or didn't have too much time left and were looking at us like we were superstars. It's crazy that a game like basketball can put you in a light with those people. It somehow changed people's lives when we were interacting with family."

Travis, whose brother Jonah plays basketball at Harvard, said picking Stanford was an easy decision.

"It was always at the top of my list," he said. "When it came down to about three schools and I had a week to make my decision, it was a no-brainer. Of course, it's always tough to leave your family, but I feel right at home here."

Basketball aside, Travis was drawn to Stanford for its unlimited possibilities.

"My brother is always talking in my ear that the ball bounces at some point in time," Travis said. "For my life, I wanted to have as many aspects touched on as possible. And I feel with the academics, networking and basketball, everything kind of came together. You can't play forever."

Travis is interested in studying economics.

"My brother is studying finance, so I'm going to explore that and see where it goes," he said.

It didn't take long for Travis to figure out the Stanford student body is something special.

"First day on campus I was able to realize that," said Travis. "There are other athletes here who are All-Americans and people who have honors in music or theater. That's the beauty of this campus is that everybody is at the top of their game, so there's no pressure on you. Everyone is pushing to be better, but with that comes the sense that you can relax because there aren't the eyes on you."

With the loss of inside stalwarts Josh Huestis and Dwight Powell to the NBA, Dawkins will look to Travis to become an inside presence and he is up for the challenge.

"We lost two big pieces from last year, but I feel like I can come in and contribute," Travis said. "That's been my mentality all along. I'll bring my hustle and tough will. I feel I can bring leadership and a toughness to his program that hasn't been lacking in years past, but I can re-invent it."

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