At 6-7, 240 pounds, you might guess that strength stands out as a critical tool in his arsenal — and you'd be correct. Travis is muscular without being overly stiff, using his strength simultaneously as a boulder and a knife, and he also possesses high shoulders and long arms.
His body type enabled him to succeed against players several inches taller and more explosive. Upon receiving an entry pass in the post, Travis frequently operates at an initial disadvantage but is able to pin defenders on his hips and turn for short jump hooks or bank shots from short-range.
He's also an underrated face-up shooter. He doesn't have the kind of stroke that screams pick-and-pop from 18 feet, but he capably steps out to 12 feet and excels and knocking in short baseline jumpers — open looks that repeatedly avail themselves in games. His brawn enables him to muscle his way up for rebounds, and his passing, handling (to a point) and overall coordination are superb.
As with all physically advanced young athletes, the primary question is what happens once the skinnier kids close the gap in strength? Too many smaller power forwards have emerged over the years to dominate in high school before sputtering in college. If even a portion of their strength advantage is negated, the shotblockers they previously moved off the block now hold their position and can thwart their offense.
He'll need to continue burying those face-up jump shots. Because he's mobile in a straight line (think tight end mobile, not wide receiver shifty), he changes spots well and should be able to release those high percentage attempts.
Travis' rise on the hardwood began during his sophomore season, when he attracted offers from Creighton, Northwestern, New Mexico, Wyoming and Northern Iowa. He also drew a football offer that year from Boston College. Next up was a strong junior season in 2012-13. Travis' basketball accolades enticed even more interest, and offers flowed in from Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue, Michigan State, Penn State, Iowa, Iowa State, Colorado, Arizona, Washington State, USC, Harvard, Butler, Baylor and N.C. State.
In early October, Travis boiled down his recruitment to Duke, Stanford, Gonzaga, and Minnesota. Of late the most recent buzz has Travis narrowing that list in half to the Cardinal and Gophers, however Duke was in contact Sunday night as head coach Mike Krzyzewski reached out to the Minnesota power forward. The Duke coach has worked a pitch that Travis seemed receptive to when TDD spoke with him at the Team USA Camp last month:
"They just talked about how they see me as being able to be versatile at my position, and how they give you a lot of freedom to go out and play hard nosed and stuff like that. That kinda translates into the whole culture there, and it's what Duke Basketball is. I kinda like that aspect of it that I wouldn't have to leave any of that behind, because that's kinda how I train and how I play, the way they do it."
"Coach K said I'd definitely be able to contribute early on, especially with some of the guys they are losing and with how much I can do or how little, it's up in the air, but he was pretty much saying that playing time is up to me and how much work I put in."
Travis visited Stanford on October 18th, allowing the Cardinal to make one final recruiting pitch in a race that has been ongoing for quite a while:
"I like the academics there," he said. "I've built a relationship with coach (Johnny) Dawkins since my freshman year. I've known the coaching staff for a while and I have a family feel from them. I just want to go and see it with my own eyes."
The final official visit was to the hometown program, one that seemed to potentially change this recruitment by vaulting the Gophers directly into the discussion:
"I'm impressed with (Richard) Pitino," said Travis. "I like what he's pitching and I want to see how successful they are but I think they'll have a good year. I like the possibility of playing at home; there's nothing that can really compete with that. I've taken like a dozen unofficials there but I think I'll take an official too."
Duke Projected Depth Chart:
During Travis' freshman season, the Blue Devils will have a number of players who can play the power forward position. There will be no seniors on the roster. With Jabari Parker expected to be in his NBA Rookie season, Duke will still have junior Amile Jefferson, fourth year junior Alex Murphy, and sophomore Semi Ojeleye as potential "4s" in the Blue Devil system.
Travis was the final player to receive a Duke offer in the class of 2014, earning the nod of head coach Mike Krzyzewski in September. Immediately, the Blue Devils seemed to make an impact, and Travis was soon on campus for an official visit. From there, however, things seemed to stall between the two sides as Duke remained involved with three other high major front court players (Kevon Looney, Jahlil Okafor, and Myles Turner). Meanwhile, both Stanford and Minnesota worked hard to prioritize Travis as their top prospect. With the final week and days of the recruiting process arriving, Travis has publicly stated that he's torn and "flipping back and forth" between his options. The Scout.com team, however, has been informed and reported that the big Minnesota power forward will choose between the Gophers and Cardinal. Krzyzewski and Travis spoke earlier this week via phone, but soon after Travis was spotted court side at the Gophers' exhibition game. As the final decision approaches, the trend is decidedly away from Durham.