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Reid Travis

Since John Calipari became Kentucky head coach in 2009, he's had 24 freshmen players drafted into the NBA after just one year. This season, he has a new kind of one-and-done.

Reid Travis is a 23-year-old graduate transfer from Stanford.

"He's been a beast that we usually don't have," Calipari told ThePostGame.

Calipari also calls Travis "Kid," a term of endearment that invokes laughter from the 6-8 forward, who said he had not been referred to as that in eight years.

Reid Travis

Asked why he pursued a player much older than his typical 18-year-old recruit, Calipari pointed to Travis' impressive accolades, including averaging 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds last season, resulting in his second time earning first-team, All-Pac-12 honors.

"When he said, 'I'd like to come with you,' I said, 'Come on, we'll figure this out,'" Calipari said.

Travis came to Kentucky because it not only gives him a chance to compete for a national championship, but also bolster his chances for a successful NBA career, a coaching trait for which Calipari has become known.

"He felt like he could really help me take the next step in my game as far as developing myself," Travis said, "and getting to where I wanted to be in a year's time."

In his 10th year as Kentucky head coach, Calipari lauded the practice habits of Travis, a constant presence in the gym.

"He is so focused, works so hard, gives everything he can," Calipari said. "He's wired and driven all the time."

Reid Travis

Having a veteran like Travis, a three-time captain at Stanford, has been a refreshing change for Calipari. One observer told Calipari that he noticed that Travis never takes his eyes off his head coach during practice.

"We've got a lot of freshmen who do take their eyes off me," Calipari joked, "and sometimes turn their ears off."

Alongside Travis, Kentucky starts three true freshmen and sophomore PJ Washington. One of those freshmen, guard Tyler Herro, praised Travis' leadership, particularly during an 80-72 win against North Carolina, where Travis' 16 first-half points gave Kentucky an early lead it did not relinquish.

"He's a veteran to us. We look up to him a lot," Herro said. "When he's setting the tone like that, it's almost like we have to follow him."

Calipari said the leadership on his team is "still developing" and that Travis is not necessarily the most vocal guy.

Reid Travis

"But when he speaks," Calipari said, "they listen."

One of Travis' main messages to his teammates has been to not get too high or too low during the course of the long season.

Asked if he feels old providing guidance to his teenaged teammates, the 23-year-old chuckled.

"Not too much," he said. "I mean, 23 -- I wouldn't classify as old."

Travis, though, may be a bit more old school than his teammates. He cited similar musical preferences and things in common off the court. But while Washington enjoys playing Fortnite, the popular video game among adolescents, Travis listed his interests as watching old NBC sitcoms, The Office and Seinfeld.

Travis was a primetime talent at Stanford. Having graduated with a bachelor of science degree in science, technology and society, the then-redshirt junior explored entering the 2018 NBA Draft. But after working out for teams, including the Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers, he was told that he might drop to the second round or go undrafted.

Reid Travis

So he transferred to Kentucky, where he's studying sport leadership in the school's kinesiology and health promotion department. With its curriculum designed for graduate students who want to become coaches, athletic directors or NCAA administrators, many of his fellow classmates are part of the volleyball program or intern for the football team.

"I'm getting the perspective of being with a lot of older people also that are working already for Kentucky," Travis said. "It's been nice to kind of have those people as classmates and kind of seeing sports on a different end of the spectrum."

The program has opened Travis' eyes to a potential job in sports after his playing days, but his main post-basketball goal is to enroll in business school -- perhaps at Stanford -- and become an entrepreneur or venture capitalist.

To bolster his professional basketball prospects, Travis, a burly bruiser who played three years of football at DeLaSalle High in Minneapolis, has dropped about 25 pounds to make him more of an all-around player better suited to the modern-day NBA, which favors spacing and three-point shots rather than a back-to-the-basket game.

Reid Travis

Now sleeker, he has capably defended athletic players like lottery-bound North Carolina freshman Nassir Little, whose shot he blocked, while also guarding All-ACC big man Luke Maye.

Travis, who doesn't leave the gym until he has drained at least 9 of 10 shots from seven different spots behind the three-point arc, has become a more comfortable shooter.

After attempting only 62 three-pointers during his four years at Stanford, he launched four against North Carolina, making one.

It was part of a performance that Travis called his best of the season, as he recorded 20 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

The North Carolina game plan was to front Travis in the low post, but the Tar Heels big men struggled to do so.

"Reid is a load," North Carolina head coach Roy Williams said. "He's a very good player, and they dominated things inside."

Defeating North Carolina, a top 10 team heading into the Dec. 22 game, was Kentucky's most impressive win of the season.

It's a sign that Calipari's young team has weathered some early growing pains and is maturing. Come March Madness, a postseason experience Travis never participated in, perhaps Kentucky could be good enough to reach the 2019 Final Four, which will be played in Travis' hometown of Minneapolis.

"We're getting better," said Calipari, describing his team before pausing for effect. "We're inexperienced -- with a grad transfer."

-- Follow Jeff Fedotin on Twitter @JFedotin.