Getting Travis didn't guarantee success, but it wouldn't have hurt


A swift kick to the gut.

That's one way to describe the feeling for Gopher faithful this afternoon when Reid Travis chose Stanford over Minnesota, with Friday serving as another agonizing realization that top-50 in-state recruits just don't choose the Gophers, and that the basketball program is likely to strikeout in their pursuit of one of the three elite level high school prospects from Minnesota.

But the latest blow in the recruiting flyover known as Dinkytown has some paralleling history to it.

We touched on it yesterday, highlighting the positives of Minnesota getting Travis. Now, since our hearts are heavy and he's going west, we even it out with a sobering reality on superstar forwards to come to Minnesota.

The paralleling history we mentioned, and outlined last night, is Kris Humphries 2003-04 season with the Gophers, his only one in maroon and gold before bolting to the NBA.

Humphries was an even more highly touted recruit than Travis when he came out of Hopkins, ranking No. 15 on the Rivals list of top national prep players.

After decommiting from Duke, he came back home and put up monster stats at the U, the likes of which we haven't come close to seeing since.

That season though, the Gophers finished 12-18 overall and 3-13 in the conference, tied for last with constantly-bad Penn State.

Humphries got his, but did little for the team, something that seemed to be a trend off the court as well.

Dan Coleman was also a highly touted Minnesota commit, ranking No. 123 nationally.

Obviously not the hype of a Humphries or Travis, but a solid player nonetheless, and a Hopkins guy like Humphries.

In Coleman's four years at Minnesota, the Gophers made the NCAA tournament just once.

Reid is his own player, and these comparisons are nothing against his ability, as he looks like a player with a much higher ceiling than Coleman, and one with the potential to match the output of Humphries considering how similar they are in size and style.

Travis is also, by all accounts, a great young kid, one that is much more of a team guy than Humphries ever was, and someone with his head screwed on a bit straighter than Kris as well.

But with so much flux in the Gopher basketball program right now, what was the guarantee that Travis would break the trend, excel with Minnesota, and make an impact on the program?

Richard Pitino has implemented his run-and-gun, pressing style, one that doesn't fit a lot of power post players. Would Reid have adjusted?

Would Travis being surrounded by a 2013 recruiting class that got an "F" in USA today have been enough for Minnesota to make a tournament run?

Would he be the one to turn this program into a contender?

We'll likely never know, but we do know how system-oriented Pitino is, how few guarantees there are when it comes to team success based on one recruit, and what the Gophers roster currently looks like.

We're likely just writing this to mask the pain of seeing him leave the state, but history tells us one thing: No one recruit, no matter how fantastic, makes a team. Just look at Michael Beasley's Kansas State season, O.J. Mayo's USC year, or B.J. MullensOhio State campaign.

Travis likely weighed all of these things in his decision, and Stanford seems like the smartest choice for his future, with a fantastic education and sub-par basketball conference awaiting him, one he may be able to dominate.

Still, despite all the history and question marks, when we sit and watch Reid in red, we won't forget that one recruit doesn't not make a team, but it's a good start.

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