Football season is officially back, and as usual, Stanford flies under the radar among the Pac-12’s elite with all of the hype surrounding USC and Washington. As the football team hopes to build towards another conference championship, Stanford’s basketball team has also gone underrated in putting together a competitive roster that will finish top five in the conference. This team will be led by one of the top big men in the Pac-12, Reid Travis.
In three seasons at Stanford, Travis has averaged 11.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. His 2017 season was when he made the jump to the Cardinal’s star, averaging 17.4 points and 8.9 boards, which both ranked in the top five among Pac-12 players. Travis was able to bounce back from an injury plagued year to become one of the best players in the Pac-12.
Travis missed the majority of the 2016 season with a stress fracture. Because of this, he was granted a medical hardship waiver by the NCAA, therefore giving him an extra year of eligibility. He would be going into his senior year at Stanford were this not the case. Should he choose to do so, Travis would be eligible to return to the Cardinal for the 2018-19 season as well as this year. But, he has the potential to turn enough heads in the upcoming season that it would be difficult for him to resist the temptation of pursuing a professional career.
Despite Travis developing into an elite player, Stanford struggled as a whole. The Cardinal went 14-17 for the season, and only 6-12 in conference play. Stanford was far from the most talented team in the conference, but the team was not bad enough to where it should have finished ninth in the Pac-12. Stanford will have higher expectations going into next season with a top 15 recruiting class to surround Travis. This will allow him to keep his numbers high without having to carry the full load, while also leading the team to more victories.
Travis does have the potential to be an NBA talent, but he does have some glaring holes in his game that should definitely not be overlooked. The first being that he is not much of a rim protector at all, only finishing the season with 5 total blocked shots. The other main issue is that he doesn’t stretch the floor. He rarely takes jumpers, and when he does, he only hits 39 percent of them. At 6-foot-8, this likely won’t be too much of a hindrance at the collegiate level, but if he elects to go pro, he could have a difficult time adjusting.
True to form in Stanford athletics, Reid Travis was one of the most underrated players in the Pac-12 last season. Statistically speaking, he was easily a top ten, arguably a top five player in the conference. The only real knock on him was that his elite play was not adding up to wins, which wasn’t really his fault because Stanford had little depth outside the starting lineup or even its stars. With a far more talented team going into next season, the wins will start to pile up for Stanford, and Travis won’t be slept on anymore.