Last Friday was a memorable day for the Stanford men's basketball program. In addition to winning their season opener over Bucknell, the Cardinal picked up one of its biggest commitments of the last decade, from Reid Travis, the nation's No. 40 player in the 2014 class.
Travis picked Stanford over offers from more than 30 schools, including Duke, Michigan State, and UCLA. His decision came down to the Blue Devils, Minnesota and the Cardinal.
What was the deciding factor?
"Just the comfort feel I got," Travis said. "The coaching staff and the players and all that, it's tough to find that many people that you feel like you have the same mindset and the same goals and aspirations. You don't find that everywhere, where you really just have a lot of good guys on the same team where I felt like everyone kind of has the same beliefs and the background that I came from. I wanted to go some place where the academics were just as strong as basketball, and I think that Stanford kind of epitomizes that with their program."
The Cardinal's extensive and lengthy pursuit of Travis also played a major role. Stanford has been recruiting Travis since his freshman year of high school, and the two sides have developed a strong relationship.
"It played a huge factor," Travis said. "That was the first school that I ever got a letter from. I think it was my freshman year. So I've been in contact with them pretty much throughout the whole recruiting process. They always kept tabs on me, Coach Schrage and then Coach Dawkins came in a little later than that... They were up-front and honest with me throughout the whole process and that's what I really fell in love with at the end of the day."
Stanford plans to use the 6-foot-7 Travis at power forward. He'll be a candidate to earn early playing next time season when the Cardinal will have to replace its starting frontcourt of Josh Huestis and Dwight Powell.
"(They see me as) definitely a '4' that can come in and play a lot right away and have a chance to produce and be used and utilized in the right way," Travis said. "Especially with Huestis and Powell leaving after this season, they really feel like there's a gap for someone like me to come in and be able to have a significant role on the team."
Travis took his official visit to Stanford in early October. The trip helped cement his interest in the Cardinal.
"It played a huge role," Travis said. "You can always talk to people on the phone and look stuff up online, but until you really start meeting people face-to-face and get to see them in their environment, I started to really picture myself on campus and see myself with the guys. That's kind of where it all clicked for me, where it was like, 'I could see myself here for the next four years.' That's kind of what did it for me and pushed it over the top was when I really got that feeling, like this is the place where I need to be going to school."
In addition to partaking in the standard official visit activities, Travis had the opportunity to meet former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on the trip.
"I'll always remember that," Travis said. "I've been a huge fan of hers for years. It was nice the way that worked out that I was able to meet her."
In the month following his official visit to Stanford, Travis took a trip to Minnesota as he neared a decision. Travis was also in touch with fellow Rivals 100 prospect, Stanford point guard commit Robert Cartwright.
"I talked to Robert Cartwright for about a month before I made my decision," Travis said. "We texted back and forth. He just told me about Stanford and his process to ultimately decide this is where he wanted to go. I've been in a lot of contact with him."
Travis is excited to be a part of a recruiting class that is expected to be among the nation's most highly ranked.
"The more good players we can get coming in the recruiting class, the better the program's going to be at the end of the day," Travis said. "I trust the coaching staff. They're all doing it the right way. We're getting top-level kids and good people at the same time. I'm excited about the class that they're bringing in."
Travis plans to sign his Letter of Intent to Stanford this week. He's enjoyed being free from many of the stresses that come with being a top uncommitted recruit since making his decision.
"It's been great since I made (my commitment)," Travis said. "It feels like a lot of pressure and a lot of stuff like that have been lifted off. I don't have to answer phone calls from here and there and I don't really have to weigh any more decisions or anything like that because I am set and I know where I'm going. It's been a nice relief."
About seven-and-a-half months from now, after Travis completes his senior season and earns his high school diploma, he'll leave Minnesota for California. What is he most looking forward to about beginning his Cardinal career next summer?
"Probably just to start making connections with everyone out there and kind of just getting involved in the Stanford community and becoming one with that," Travis said. "(I'm looking forward to) being able to start utilizing all the opportunities both on the court and off the court it has to offer."
Travis is expected to sign with Stanford in a ceremony at his school this morning.