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Playing for Kentucky was supposed to bring 'certainty' to Travis' draft stock, but it hasn't

Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in Basketball

Because it's synonymous with one-and-done players, the Kentucky basketball program is viewed as a springboard to the NBA. Its siren call to recruits might as well be this: Step right up, young man, and step right out.

UK's abundance of draft choices in John Calipari's first nine seasons as coach played a part in Reid Travis deciding to play his final college season with the Cats as a graduate transfer from Stanford.

Yes, he liked the idea of capping his college career by playing at the highest level in front of large crowds and competing for a national championship. But as his father, Nate Travis, said, his son also saw playing for Kentucky as a way of "solidifying himself as a prospect in the draft."

Yet, as the NBA combine unfolds this week in Chicago, Travis' status for the June 20 NBA draft is not solid. Travis was not among the 66 players invited to the combine nor the 80 players participating in the G League Elite Camp that precedes the combine.

"There's still some uncertainty," Nate Travis said Monday of his son's draft status. "We felt if he played at Kentucky, he'd have some certainty coming off the season. As a father, I'm a little concerned with that. I thought he'd have a little more of an understanding of when he'd fall in the draft."

To ask why there remains uncertainty about Travis produces multiple responses.

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Nate Travis said his son had to balance individual goals with a leadership role on the Kentucky team.

"He probably had more of a leadership role as far as helping younger players develop," the elder Travis said. "Maybe his abilities got somehow shifted a little bit for the sake of helping younger players develop and understand the process. ... He kind of took that role and kind of got away from what he wanted to do when he came there."

Those individual goals, which were based on feedback from NBA scouts a year ago, included showing improvement as an outside shooter and ball-handler.

Travis' 3-point shooting accuracy decreased slightly this past season. He made 26.9 percent of his 3-point shots (seven of 26). For Stanford in 2017-18, he made 28.9 percent of his 3-point shots (11 of 38).

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