Gophers Basketball: Does Kevon Looney’s decision affect Reid Travis’ thinking?


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

If you’ve been on Twitter this past week, odds are you have seen the #WeNeedReid trending hashtag. The University of Minnesota, which very recently hosted Reid Travis on campus, is picking up steam as a potential landing spot for the four-star homegrown big man.

On Wednesday afternoon, five-star forward from Milwaukee, Kevon Looney, committed to UCLA over Duke University. This is significant to Gopher fans because Duke is in contention with Minnesota for the talents of Travis.

Earlier this week, I wrote about Duke’s limited amount of scholarships and how that could deter Travis from committing there. My main argument was that Duke only has three remaining scholarships and Looney, along with others, could have filled them before Travis’ decision. I didn’t mean to suggest that Looney’s decision would dissuade Travis from committing there due to the fear for a position battle.

However, with that said, I do believe the Looney commitment to UCLA did hurt the Gophers chances in some regards. With no power forwards in the 2014 class and more scholarships to work with, expect Coach K to put on the full court press for Travis.

I think the biggest thing that was getting in the way of Duke’s chances was that they didn’t really want Travis as badly as other teams wanted him. With Looney no longer on the table, maybe Duke’s approach changes. Duke’s recruiting intensity could sway Reid but I again want to emphasize that in no way was Looney’s talent going to turn Travis away from Duke.

I don’t think any level of talent committing to a certain school would discourage Reid Travis from committing there. Travis is an elite basketball recruit who has the athletic capabilities to earn significant game minutes no matter where he goes.

Recently, a four-star forward, Michael Humphrey, committed to Stanford and I don’t believe that the commitment will hurt their chances in landing Reid. His approach to his college decision has always been to find the best fit as a developing student-athlete, not to find a checkpoint to the NBA.

Going forward, it looks to be a very tight race between Duke, Minnesota, and Stanford. Since my last article, Gonzaga has reportedly been dropped from the list.

Like I mentioned, expect Duke to pick up its intensity after missing out on Looney. The Jones-Okafor package deal is expected to be announced before Travis’ decision. If Justice Winslow decides to team up with those two, like they had discussed at one point, that would fill Duke’s four remaining scholarships.

As for Minnesota, they have a lot to sell with the right people selling it. For some time now, Richard Pitino has been emphasizing the academic opportunities at the University of Minnesota. He has used Andre Hollins as an example for his success at the Carlson School of Management. Hollins, coincidentally, chose Minnesota over Stanford and has vocalized his satisfaction in doing so.

Minnesota also has De La Salle connections with former Explorer and Gopher player, Ben Johnson, on the current Gopher staff. Reid also has developed a relationship with former Gopher and NBA player, Quincey Lewis, who held an assistant coaching role with De La Salle.

Travis plans to announce his decision on Nov. 8. And with the date a week away, I expect a lot more speculations and theories to surface up until the minute of his announcement. Travis has kept his cards held close the entire recruiting process and I expect his cards to remain close until he shows his hand next Friday.

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