Over the past decade or so, Gonzaga's recruiting reach within the United States has expanded to become a near national approach. While the staff will likely always be prone to try and recruit along the West Coast, the Gonzaga brand has become so recognizable in college basketball that kids in all 50 states are sure to know what the Zags are about. When Gonzaga locked up Sam Dower as part of the 2009 class, it was a huge coup for the staff as their presence in the Midwest has been a bit slower to develop.
As we look to the 2014 class, there is another outstanding prospect from the great state of Minnesota. Reid Travis, a 6'7'' forward from Minneapolis, had about as good a summer as any prospect in the 2014 cycle and he certainly caught the eyes of scouts from all across the country. According to Tom Krosschell, Executive Director of Reid's AAU Club Minnesota Pump N' Run, it is his versatility that makes him such a coveted prospect.
"Up until this spring his inside game has always been his strong suit but he has added a very effective mid-range jump shot to his arsenal as well," Krosschell explained. "Reid also worked very hard on his ball handling skills and is now very adept at beating defenders off the dribble. He also worked extremely hard on his free throw shooting which had been somewhat inconsistent. Throughout July Reid was almost automatic from the line. I think his versitilty and overall skill set wowed the coaches."
Keep reading after the jump for more on Reid's abilities and recruitment...
At 6'7'', Reid will remind many Gonzaga fans of Elias Harris. As Krosschell says above, the first area of Travis' game to develop was his post play but now that he is a very skilled threat from outside, there won't be many defenders that can match up with him each and every time down the floor in high school or even at the collegiate level.
"I think Reid can be very effective at either position at the next level. He presents a potential mismatch on every possession depending on the opposing defender. He can now take a larger defender off the dribble as well as use his strength to dominate a small defender," said Krosschell.
One of the bigger knocks on current Bulldog Elias Harris is that he is labeled as a 'tweener' by many NBA scouts and folks weren't sure if he could thrive as a small forward in college or at the next level. Harris has taken that critique to heart and we have seen him work hard to become a more complete player. Similarly, Krosschell explains that Reid is still working hard to become a hybrid forward that is so coveted by collegiate scouts.
Reid has worked extremely hard on his mid-range shooting and ball handling," said Krosschell. "I think he will continue to polish both of those areas of his game. Reid is very driven to become a complete overall player."
With his incredible skill set on full display this summer, college coaches were packing gyms across the country to see Reid play and, according to Travis' offer list, they loved what they saw.
"Reid is getting heavy interest from a lot of schools. He has offers from Minnesota, Iowa State, Nebraska, Colorado, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, Washington State, Butler, USC, Harvard, and many others. I think he has over 20 offers and the list continues to grow," Krosschell said.
Gonzaga scouted Reid a number of times this summer and he is definitely among the couple of priority recruits that the staff will continue to watch this season and into next summer. According to Krosschell, Gonzaga contacted him after the Super 64 Tournament in Las Vegas. At that time, the staff also inquired about 2013 point guard Graham Woodward who we will have more on very soon.
With heavy interest from some of the top programs in the Midwest, being able to attract Travis to the Pacific Northwest will be no small task for the staff. They do have experience in doing so as Sam Dower was seriously considering offers from Minnesota and Marquette before pulling the trigger for Gonzaga. Krosschell says that people in Minnesota are well aware of what Dower is doing in Spokane.
"I think any time that a Minnesota kid has success out-of-state at the D1 level the local basketball community really takes notice. These two players are certainly well aware of both Sam's and Gonzaga's success. Gonzaga's