UK Lands Red-Hot Stanford Transfer, Becomes National Title Contender
When was the last time the University of Kentucky had a 22-year-old on its roster? Our Director of Sales, Traci Davis, laughingly guessed 1974.
In the wake of John Calipari and the One-and-Done Factory in Lexington, you could forgive her if that had been a LEGITIMATE guess.
Actually, the correct answer is Darius Miller, a guard on the 2012 national title team. But up until just a while ago, he was it, as far as the Calipari Era is concerned.
You see, "just a while ago," Reid Travis, a graduate transfer from Stanford, announced that he will be wearing a Wildcat jersey for his final year of eligibility.
The enormity of this decision as it relates to UK's title chances cannot be understated.
Travis was the most sought-after transfer out there during this off-season and he didn't even visit the other school rumored to be on his radar.
That school just happens to be Villanova, winner of two of the last three national championships.
That kind of tournament resume should be enough to lure any uber-talented big man to a team in short supply in the post. But that's just it. Villanova is a small-ball team. That's how they operate. (And they're pretty good at it, I might add.)
Travis is a smart guy and did his homework.
He's joining returnees PJ Washington (he and Travis should become the nation's best front court), Quade Green, and Nick Richards. And THEY will all join a stellar incoming freshman class that includes EJ Montgomery, Keldon Johnson, Immanuel Quickley, Tyler Herro, and newly reclassified Ashton Hagans to form a squad that's already top three in many very early polls--a ranking that PRECEDED the Travis announcement.
While you can't exactly sniff at the success John Calipari has had over the last couple of years with really young teams--an Elite Eight in 2017 and a Sweet Sixteen in 2018--it WILL be four years since the last Final Four appearance, come next spring.
In John Calipari's tenure--he's headed into his it-got-here-before-we-knew-it 10th season--that's a lifetime for Big Blue Nation.
This is a fascinating mix and, yes, chemistry is the current unknown with these guys. But based on what I've seen from the ones with whom I'm familiar and based on what I know about these new freshman, this will be a fun and exciting group of Wildcats to watch.