Travis punishes foes at LeBron

Reid Travis

There's an easy way and a hard way, and Reid Travis opted for the latter throughout his three days at the LeBron James Skills Academy.

The event's primary strength lied with its elite, lengthy big men, and Travis – who stands 6-7 — clearly wasn't among them.

But he definitely placed himself into the top tier of actual performers. Where he lacks in height and reach, the Minnesota native utilized his 228-pound frame to full advantage. He consistently initiated contact with shotblockers and knocked them off-balance, freeing himself for easy finishes inside.

He also used a quick first step to drive past those same big guys when away from the bucket. Given that he possesses accurate shooting range to 15 feet, they had no choice but to step out and defend him.

Reid's style didn't actualize without his personal direction. He understood where he lined up in the physical pecking order and tailored his approach at LeBron to maximize his output.

"Power is the big thing for me here because they say I'm undersized for my position," Travis said on the camp's final day. "But because I'm strong I try to move guys and use the assets that I do have."

And move they did. Even when confronted with blue-chip prospects such as Syracuse-bound Chris McCullough, Travis was able to get shots to the rim and, even if he missed, frequently muscle them out of the way to clean up his own mess.

But despite his bullying play at LeBron, Travis doesn't categorize as a brute. He's a very coordinated athlete who not only shoots well, he generally enjoys a speed, quickness and agility advantage as a power forward. That said, he doesn't handle like a wing and defensively is a much better fit for the four.

His likely collegiate position hasn't been lost on him, either.

"I see myself as a power forward who can step out and do some things," Travis said. "Maybe one day I could become a three, but I like the physicality of the four and having that versatility."

But back to his future college position. Travis surely projects as a four for basketball, but he's also a talented football prospect who hasn't yet decided which sport he'll pursue at the next level.

"I'm still planning to play football my senior year and don't have a preference yet," he said. "It probably depends on when you ask me, I just need to see how the process goes."

Even if he ultimately does pursue hoops, Travis' football exploits do translate to a degree.

"I'm used to the contact in football and after going through a whole season of that, it makes a difference," he said. "You just have to be careful about officials and how the games are called."

His next step is to finish the summer on the grassroots circuit, then visit UCLA unofficially in late August. He recently made a trip to Gonzaga ("It was great to meet the coaches in person") and also lists Stanford, Michigan State and Minnesota. He said that he plans to take his officials in September and decide prior to the beginning of basketball season.

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