Gophers Basketball: Shortage of scholarships could deter Reid Travis from Duke


Jul 18, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Team USA Midwest player Reid Travis (12) prepares to dunk the ball against Team Brasil during the Nike Global Challenge at Trinity University in Washington, DC. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota’s top prep power forward, Reid Travis, completed his final official visit by visiting the University of Minnesota over the weekend. The initial reaction from the visit was that it was a major success for both Travis and the Gophers.

While on campus, Travis attended practice and was greeted by Bobby Jackson, JJ Barea, Gorgui Dieng, Blake Hoffarber, and Al Nolan. The group of guests at practice showcased former players who decided to stay home to play college ball, as well as players who have had professional basketball opportunities. In addition to practice, Travis also attended the Gophers and Boston College hockey game as well as Minnesota’s upset victory over Nebraska in football. It was capped off by dinner with Richard Pitino at Fogo de Chao in downtown Minneapolis.

He plans to announce his decision on Friday, Nov. 8 — five days before the early signing period.

The five-star recruit from De La Salle High School is down to just four schools: Duke, Gonzaga, Stanford and Minnesota. With his decision looming, favorites are emerging.

Travis is seeking a school where he can excel on both the hardwood and in the classroom. It’s believed that Duke has the lead with Stanford and Minnesota close behind. Conversation around Gonzaga has been quiet as of late but it’s still included on Travis’ list — he visited the Bulldogs in June.

Although many deem Duke an early favorite, these next two weeks could create a domino effect that could lead Travis away from Duke.

Duke currently has four seniors on the roster, meaning before underclassmen have the opportunity of declaring early, Duke only has four scholarships available. Since many recruits, including Travis, want to commit early, it’s hard to image Duke allowing more than four to commit before they have confirmation or at least very strong indication that at least one of their players is leaving early.

Why could this restriction of early scholarships lead Travis away from Duke? First of all, they already have one commitment in the Class of 2014 from Jacksonville shooting guard Grayson Allen, meaning they have only three scholarships remaining for the early signing period. Secondly, they have an abundant amount of five star recruits who have Duke very high on their list and who are looking to commit to the Blue Devils.

While Travis was visiting the Gophers, other top recruits including Jahlil Okafor of Chicago, Justise Winslow of Houston, and Tyus Jones were on an official visit to Duke. It appears the package duo of Okafor and Jones are down to Kansas and Duke, with Baylor losing steam. Also, Winslow has flirted with the possibility of joining the Jones-Okafor package and has lost interest in Kansas as of late. If they do decide to pursue the trio package, Duke would appear to be the spot.

Also in the mix for one of Duke’s remaining scholarships is Kevon Looney, a five-star stretch power forward from Milwaukee. Not only does this threaten any remaining scholarships but it also creates a position battle for Travis. Looney will make his decision on Halloween and is deciding between a number of schools, but Duke is said to be his front runner.

Bottom line is that Duke is looking at players perceived to be more valuable than Travis. Unless they accept more commitments than they have scholarships, they may lower their recruitment intensity on Travis. Even if they don’t, the possibility exists that Reid will be deterred by the talent that he could be stuck behind in the rotation if he commits to the Blue Devils.

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