Reid Travis is one of Minnesota's "big three" recruits for 2014 along with Tyus Jones and Rashad Vaugh. The DeLaSalle (Minneapolis) athlete is currently ranked No. 41 nationally by Rivals.com and No. 40 by ESPN by that class. Travis is a versatile 6-8, 240-pound power forward with a long wingspan and the ability to finish around the basket or step out for the jump shot. The forward is also being recruited in football, as a quarterback.
Our Q&A (questions in bold):
Is everything kind of ramping up for you now in your junior season with your recruitment?
Yeah, definitely. From the summer, it kind of just picked up from there.
Can you even leave your phone on anymore without it immediately dying?
Pretty much. With the new rule that they can pretty much contact you whenever, it’s kind of hard because every coach kind of wants to put his two cents in every once in a while. Sometimes I do have to turn my phone off when I get home because it gets a little overwhelming.
Do you give them any kind of guidelines? Like more is not better?
Some coaches, they try to take the approach that more is better and you’ve just got to set it straight that I kind of think one time a week is the most. I try to talk to a coach on a Sunday here and there, with schoolwork and the season going on, it’s kind of hard to answer every phone call, so yeah, for me, it’s important to set the guidelines. Once you start talking to them, let them know so that we’re on the same page.
Compare the amount of attention you get basketball-wise with the attention you get football-wise.
For sure, basketball is definitely a lot bigger and more out there with a lot more schools and it kind of stretches a lot more. Football’s just kind of picking up since the season ended. I wasn’t talking to too many coaches during the summer or during the season and now it’s just kind of picking up. I think it can get to the same point as basketball, but it’s not there yet.
Do you have any idea when you’ll decide which sport you’ll pursue?
No, I’m not sure. I know in the fall sometime, I want to have a pretty good idea of where I’m going to school so I’m pretty sure I’ll know what sport and what school by then.
Do you have any kind of leanings right now or what is going to go into that decision? Is it just going to be about what you want to do, or is going to have to do with the teams that are interested on both sides?
I think it’s a little bit of both – what I want to do and the teams that are interested. And kind of just find a school that’s the best fit for me and in the sport I want to play. I’m trying to find the right combination of everything that will line up, that’s the biggest thing for me.
Do your parents favor you going after one sport or another?
No, they kind of just gave me the reins on that. They’ll help guide me with some of the schools once I start to pick, but I think when it comes down to it, what I play, I don’t think will matter to them.
And is that decision –which sport – going to be the first that you make, before you start narrowing any lists?
I would try and narrow the lists for both sports first and then from there, I’d kind of see my options for which schools had offered in basketball and football, and both, and then try to explore all options from that aspect.
You’re going to be busy. I think just dealing with the recruitment for one sport is enough, in trying to sort through all the different aspects of programs – doing that for two sports, well that sounds time-consuming.
Definitely. You talk about basketball recruiting, how it’s picked up and just trying to schedule visits and trying to get out to schools and it just makes it that much more interesting when you add football, because you’re talking about camps and visits too. You want to do it all but you kind of have to limit yourself, because there’s just not enough time.
Do you know anyone else that’s been in this position that is good enough in two sports to be getting widely recruited in both of them?
No there’s not too much that I know personally, I mean, there’s just people that I’ve seen over the years, like Seantrel [Henderson, who is playing football at Miami, currently], for example. I just saw some of the stuff that he was going through dealing with both. I think the biggest thing with him was just time management and trying to figure out the best places and narrowing things down right away so he didn’t waste his time or anyone else’s. I think that’s the biggest person I kind of look at in that instance.
Do you have an idea of when you will start narrowing your respective lists?
No., I’m not sure. I just kind of just want to feel it out, play it out, see what level, the highest school I can get, and once I feel like I’ve got all the schools that I want or all the offers that I think are good enough, I think I can start narrowing it down from there. It’s so early right now that I don’t really want to – I want to give everyone a fair chance.
So next year maybe?
Yeah, by next year I would like to go into the fall with a set couple of schools that I can really focus on and do visits then and really start building stronger relationships.
How many offers are you up to now in basketball?
I want to say over 25 or so.
And how many have you visited?
I want to say three or four. Just locally. I haven’t gone anywhere farther – except Harvard (recruiting him for basketball).
Where else have you visited? Obviously Minnesota.
Yep, and Iowa State, I went to Wisconsin and Iowa and that’s it right now (all unofficials).
Are you around Minnesota’s campus a lot?
Yeah, I’m there a lot. I actually live about eight blocks, I want to say, from Beirman and less than a mile away from Williams. So I kind of live right on campus and I’m around there a lot.
How many hoops games have you been to this year?
I went to the Michigan and Michigan State games, so two so far.
Did you hear any chants at those? I didn’t but sometimes I’m paying too much attention to writing.
No, I haven’t heard anything. I mean, I’ve heard some other people get their name chanted (Writer’s note: I wonder who that could be?) but I haven’t heard mine. Maybe they have but I’m just like you, I’ve focused on 100 things when I’m at the game (Note: OK, but I would notice if they were chanting MY name, Reid).
Did you go with Rashad [Vaughn] and Tyus [Jones]? Are you close with them?
We’re pretty cool. I want to say the Michigan game we were all there together.
And how often do you watch the Gophers on TV?
I watch them a lot, especially with the Big Ten Network and everything, that’s one of the main channels I watch, so I’m always catching games either on replay or live. I’d say I’ve seen a good majority of all the games.
Did your parents grow up Gophers fans?
Yep, we’ve lived in the same neighborhood my whole life so I’d say, not diehards, but they’ve always kind of rooted for them.
So what are your impressions of their season so far?
I mean, they started out great and that was nice to see – they got the high ranking. And now they’re struggling a little bit here and there but I think they’re really starting to pick it up now which is good to see. They’ve got good players and good key pieces coming in and it’s nice to see the system and how they’re all working together and with a great coach. I’m very impressed this season.
What are the things in general that you like about Minnesota, the program, the school?
I like the relationship with the coaches that I’m building with coach [Ron] Jirsa, coach [Tubby] Smith and just the way the contact me and they talk to me and my family. I really feel like there’s a bond and a connection there, and that’s the first thing, not just talking about basketball, but life in general – on that level, which is nice. That’s the biggest thing for me.
Who do you have the closest relationship with on the staff?
I’d say coach Jirsa. I’ve been talking to him probably the longest of all the people on the staff. I know all of them pretty good but if I had to pick one, it would probably be him.
How many games of yours have they been to this season?
I want to say about five. It’s been a couple different assistants and I think coach Smith has been to about two or three of them.
What are the biggest things you can point to that are going to go into this decision as far as where you end up?
The first thing I look at is how their academics are and how they hold their players to a standard and how high is that. What’s the graduating rate? And where are they going after college? Because that’s kind of a big thing for me … how the alumni helps you, how their business school is from the school side of it. And then just kind of how the coaches are, that connection, whether they’re going to be there for a while and just to build that bond with them.
Is there anything about Minnesota that is lacking compared to other schools?
No, not really. I think Minnesota did a good job of kind of putting themselves up there with the elite programs in the country. I don’t think they’re lacking anything, I think they’re doing everything the right way. They’ve got the best of the best to get you better and they’re a good school, so I wouldn’t say they are lacking in anything.
Good luck in all the research and the decisions you have to make. Maybe hire a personal assistant.
Yeah, I wouldn’t mind that. A secretary or something.