Rockingham Flames young gun Travers signs with Perth Wildcats

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
Rockingham teenager Luke Travers has signed with the Perth Wildcats as a development player.
Camera IconRockingham teenager Luke Travers has signed with the Perth Wildcats as a development player. Credit: Stuart Horton

Rockingham Flames young gun Luke Travers has signed with the Perth Wildcats as a development player for the 2019-20 NBL season.

Travers, 17, returned from a two week-long Ausa Hoops college exposure tour in the United States last week and told the Sound Telegraph the experience would stand him in good stead as he weighed up a decision on his future.

“Ausa Hoops takes Australians over to the States for AAU tournaments for two-and-a-half weeks to showcase players to colleges,” he said.

“Prior to the tournaments we trained twice a day for six days. We then had two or three games a day for four days, then an academic showcase, which was like a tournament in different teams which went for three days.”

Travers shows off his athleticism with a big dunk.
Camera IconTravers shows off his athleticism with a big dunk.

Travers is regarded as one of Australia’s most sought-after basketball prospects and said he had interest from a number of “big time colleges”, including Texas Christian University, Mississippi State and Western Kentucky, but he wasn’t sure what direction he would choose yet.

“TCU has been interested for a long time. I’m not sure if it’s the direction I want to take yet. I might leave it until the end of the year and then I’ll make a decision,” he said.

Travers has been an integral player for the Flames in 2019, having started a number of games but often used as the sixth man off the bench, and averages 12.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game on 54.5 per cent from the floor and 32.1 per cent from three.

Travers has attracted the interest of a number of US colleges.
Camera IconTravers has attracted the interest of a number of US colleges.

His season has been curtailed somewhat by back and shoulder injuries recently, but Travers said they were more to do with issues from growing rather than any serious joint or muscular damage.

Travers’ elite athleticism and ability to play multiple positions made him an attractive option to join the Wildcats squad.

Flames coach Ryan Petrik said Travers was “an immensely talented player” whose laid back and softly spoken nature belied a “deceptive killer instinct”, and a credit to his parents and previous coaches.

“He has a really fierce competitive nature about him,” Petrik said.

“He looks very laid back in everything he does. Everything comes so easy and he looks so graceful. The best players always seem to have more time than everyone else.

“Underneath that is an immense passion to win and play, and a real competitive streak that you don’t notice from the grandstands because everything seemingly comes so easy to him.”

Petrik also said he was excited to see how Travers’ game would improve from training with the country’s best professional basketballers day-in, day-out.

“He can already do things he shouldn’t be able to do at any age level, let alone 17,” he said.

“Now he’s going to have to go up against Terrico White on a daily basis, and Terrico will teach him a thing or two. As will Trevor Gleeson and the rest of the coaching staff.

“There’s no better program for his development in Australia.”

As part of Basketball WA’s high performance program, Travers has represented the State and Australia at various levels throughout his junior career.

At last year’s FIBA Under-17 World Cup in Argentina, he was one of Australia’s best players and was part of Australia’s gold medal-winning Under-16 Asia Cup side in 2017.

He also helped WA break a 17-year drought at the 2018 Under-18 National Championships, leading them to gold alongside his good friend and recently signed Wildcat Wani Swaka Lo Buluk.

Travers has averaged 12.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in the SBL in 2019.
Camera IconTravers has averaged 12.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in the SBL in 2019.

Former Wildcats vice-captain and Flames teammate Greg Hire told the Telegraph in 2018 he believed Travers was one of the most gifted players he had ever seen and compared him to Australian NBA stars Joe Ingles and Patty Mills.

“I have no doubt he’ll be an NBA player,” Hire said.

Each NBL club can contract 11 players to its roster, but the NBL also allows them to register up to four Australian or New Zealander players under 25 years of age, who have never been contracted by an NBL club or registered as a development player previously, as development players.

Travers will join the Perth Wildcats in a full-time capacity when he finishes his schooling in September.

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