Reid Travis Did Not Do Himself Any Favors in Summer League

Reid Travis was one of three 1st year Kentucky players in the NBA Summer League this season. Joining a long list of former Cats looking to make an NBA roster. After a decent grad-transfer season at Kentucky, Travis went undrafted. He was later picked as a free agent by the Atlanta Hawks and placed on their Summer League team.

Unlike his fellow Cats in the same draft class, he is not making major headlines like Tyler Herro and not drawing ridiculous amounts of praise like Keldon Johnson. His performance was simply mediocre, unimpressive and did not set himself apart in any way.

In Travis’ 5 games with the Hawks, he only posted 4.2 PPG and 4.0 RPG. Those are not the kind of numbers that will get you on a roster. That being said, he still has the opportunity to be picked up for the Hawks G-League squad, College Park Skyhawks, where he could have the possibility of signing a two-way deal. Don’t hold your breath though. It doesn’t look like Travis will be stepping on an NBA floor this regular season.

Travis was a very solid college player. He dominated the Pac 12 for four years before coming to Kentucky where he continued to be a stand out big man. Averaging 13.7 points and 7.6 rebounds in his career made him a consistent finalist for conference and national awards. Sadly, the PAC-12 isn’t the best place to get ready for the NBA.

By the time Travis got to Kentucky, it was already too late. Calipari’s process involves taking elite players from high school, spending a season or two developing them, showcasing their potential and then turning them over to the NBA. How was Calipari supposed to develop a player that was almost done developing? How is he supposed to showcase the potential of a 23 year old when the NBA normally selects players who are 20 and younger?

Reid Travis can still make a career out of basketball. One year of basketball being the only thing in his life, without the pressure of a master’s program I might add, will do wonders for him. It will give him the chance to tie up any loose ends in his game and grow into a dynamic role player. Give him time and expect to see him again next year in the Summer League as a completely changed player.

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Caron Butler’s Unoriginal Hair and Analysis of Tyler Herro

NBA TV analyst Caron Butler and his brand new hair seems to have stumbled on some old takes (Read this, his new hair is absurd). The oldest, in particular, is about Miami Heat newcomer, Tyler Herro. He says that Herro, after a very impressive Summer League, reminds him of two former Heat players.

Butler said, “He’s got a little bit of everything in him; I see a little bit of Jason Williams, I see a little bit of Rex Chapman, I see a little bit from an athletic standpoint, being explosive… Just being aggressive. His mentality, he’s extremely comfortable out there on that platform, on that stage knowing that everybody’s watching. And he’s having fun.”

Really, Caron? Rex Chapman and Jason Williams? Did you come up with that comparison all by yourself there, bud? I am all for the former Cats getting high praise in the NBA, but that take by Caron Butler is somehow more unoriginal than his hair.

Image result for caron butler new hair

Every white basketball player to come through Kentucky since the 90’s has been compared to Rex Chapman. John Hood even got the same comparison. Caron Butler is about 30 years late on this take. I believe the first headline written after Tyler Herro changed his commitment from Wisconsin to Kentucky was “The Next Rex Chapman Is Coming to Lexington.”

To be completely fair, Herro does play a lot like Chapman, more so than others that have been given the same praise, but it doesn’t sound like a lot of effort was put into that take. To me, Herro plays a lot like Jamal Murray, Devin Booker, or maybe even a young Paul Pierce. How hard would it have been for Butler to put a little bit of thought into that? Also, the Jason Williams comparison doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Yes, Herro made some sweet passes in the Summer League, but it’s a stretch to say the least. Herro’s game and White Chocolate’s don’t exactly match up.

Even though Chapman and Williams are relatively lazy names to throw out, that is still very good company to be grouped with. Herro is going to be a star in this league and it is only a matter of time before players are being compared to him and not the other way around.

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NBA Analysts Are Raining Praise on Tyler Herro

The Miami Heat and Pat Riley knew they were getting an elite shooter when they drafted Tyler Herro with the 13th overall pick. To their pleasant surprise, Herro has proved in Summer League that he is much more than just a shooter. His ability to score from anywhere, pass and handle the ball is drawing praise from all over the NBA.

In his 6 games in the Summer League, Herro put up big numbers. Averaging 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 steals, he is looking like a future star for Miami. The Heat’s Summer League Coach Eric Glass told the Miami Herald that Herro “can give us whatever we need… If we need a guy that can handle, get us into offense, if we need him to be pick-and-roll, if we need him to come off catch-and-shoots, he’s shown he can do it all, and we feel comfortable in any of those spots.”

Glass went on to say, “from the day he came in, he proved that he could be a really good passer, so I put him in those roles. The thing that surprised me, I guess, is his feel. It looks like he’s a second- or third-year guy out here. That’s the thing that probably jumps out more than even the touch.”

Glass also loves Herro’s competitiveness and confidence. But not just Heat personnel seems pleased with their draft pick. NBA analysts have been showering the Kentucky guard in compliments since he began his Summer league play.

NBA TV’s Brendan Haywood commented, ““He can do more than shoot… There are other layers to his game. He looks like he will be a steal.” In respect to his game, Haywood also said that Herro “gets right to his point, understands what he has to do without using a lot of the shot clock.” Even delivering the scorching take, “He’s going to be a very impressive rookie in the league. He’s going to have a chance to be first-team All Rookie.”

Former GM of the Atlanta Hawks, Wes Wilcox, said “He’s one of my favorite players in the draft… I would have had him in the top 10. He plays with confidence.” 

Even NBA living legend Vince Carter shared his opinion on Herro’s versatility at the guard position saying, “He has the ability to facilitate, so he will play both.”

Obviously, if Tyler Herro was not on teams radars before, he is now. The Heat and Pat Riley have made it clear that he will be with them for the forseeable future. Even fending off a trade with the Thunder for Russell Westbrook before he was dealt to the Rockets. Having exceeded every expectation for the Heat in Summer League, the chances of being first-team All Rookie and playing multiple crucial roles for a playoff contending squad are favorable.

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Jarred Vanderbilt Showing Serious Potential in Summer League

Due to a nagging ankle injury, we have had to wait longer than expected to see how Jarred Vanderbilt would pan out in the NBA. And if his performance in this year’s Summer League is an indication of anything, well, Vanderbilt is going to be a freaking hoss.

We all know Jarred Vanderbilt as the tireless rebounder and with relentless tenacity. He has lived up to every bit of that expectation in the last couple of games. Posting 12 points and 12 boards per game has squashed every last doubt I had about him. On Wednesday alone, Vanderbilt dropped 20 points and 17 rebounds in one of the best performances in the summer so far.

In fact, the 12 rebounds per game makes him the best rebounder in the Summer League. Vando joins former Wildcat Jamal Murray on a forward heavy Nuggets team. He will have to compete with Paul Millsap, Michael Porter Jr, Mason Plumlee Torrey Craig and Jeremi Grant for playing time, but anyone who can board like him will definitely begin to earn his minutes and hopefully a larger contract. After all, board man gets paid.

I know it’s just Summer League and we should not get too excited just yet, but if this is any sign of things to come, then all of Big Blue Nation should be very excited. For more updates on the BBNBA and sports content follow us on Twitter @soft7sports and on Facebook.

2019 Louisville vs. Kentucky Basketball Date Is Set

The date has been set for one of the best rivalries in college basketball. The Kentucky Wildcats will take on the Louisville Cardinals on Satuday, December 28th, 2019, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. The game will air on CBS

This will be the 53rd time installment of the rivalry. Kentucky currently leads the all time series 36-16. Calipari has never lost to Louisville in Rupp and is 10-1 against UofL since he arrived at Kentucky (10-2 depending on your stance on vacated wins). This includes a 71-58 win last year in the KFC Yum! Center.

Kentucky should prevail in defending their home court, but Chris Mack may have something up his sleeve with his “Super Six” recruiting class.

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Aaron Harrison Underwhelms in Summer League with Celtics

Aaron Harrison is the classic college basketball case of “what the hell happened?” After an incredible 2 year career at Kentucky, he has had a serious fall from grace. In his freshman year, Harrison’s last second heroics was the sole reason Kentucky made it to the NCAA finals. The next season, he was on the 38-1 Final Four team where he started over Devin Booker. Probably the best team ever that did not win a championship. Obviously, the kid can ball. But every since he left Lexington, he hasn’t been able to get a solid footing in the NBA.

Harrison currently plays for Galatasaray in the Turkish Super Ligi, but is using this summer to take another stab at the NBA with the Celtics Summer League squad. Sadly, it looks like he may be heading back to Turkey for at least another year. In the Celtics’ three Summer League games, he is averaging 5.3 points and 1.7 rebounds. Not exactly the kind of production Danny Ainge wants to see in a possible signee. For a SG/SF to really impress in Boston, he is going to need a lot more than the occasion three pointer in 14 minutes of play. Here are his full stats from his three games:

vs. Denver

vs. Cleveland

vs. Philadelphia

It looks like it is going to be another fruitless summer for Aaron Harrison. Sad to see especially from such an amazing college player who gave us some of the best moments in Kentucky March Madness history.

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Keldon Johnson Already Considered the Steal of the NBA Draft

After a disappointing 4 point start, Keldon Johnson has been lighting up the NBA Summer League. Performances of 29 points and 19 points since then has made him one of the most impressive players from this year’s draft. He is even drawing the highest praise from member’s of his own organization like the Spurs’ own Becky Hammon.

“The steal of the Draft.” That is one hell of a compliment. Seeing what Keldon Johnson has done so far should make ever Spurs and Kentucky fan excited for what he can accomplish in this year and in his future career. So much raw ability mixed with the great developer of talent that Gregg Popovich is will make him a star in the near future. I am sure falling in the Draft has motivated the hell out of him.

Of course, Becky Hammon is an assistant for the Spurs so take what she says about her own players with a grain of salt. Keldon may not be the steal of the draft overall. I think that award goes to Carsen Edwards and the Celtics. But the steal of the first round? Absolutely. Just about every analyst had Johnson going in the late teens. Almost no one saw him dropping in to the 20’s much less all the way to 29. Always proud to see former Cats prove everyone wrong.

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