One look at Cavaliers guard Luke Travers, and you might think he belongs on a 1980s Dukes of Hazzard set.
Or playing drums for a Queen cover band.
But there he is, trotting out on a basketball court, setting up teammates with excellent passes on one end and swatting away shots on the other.
Heading into the draft, he was relatively unknown to most American basketball fans.
The Cavs took him in the second round with the 56th pick, knowing full well he wouldn’t play for them anytime soon.
Instead, he would continue developing overseas, in the Australian NBL.
But here he is, flashing loads of potential underneath that mass of hair.
Who, or better question, what exactly is Luke Travers?
Here are three things to know about him:
1. Stash the ‘Stache
The Cavaliers currently plan to “stash” Luke Travers.
That means that the Cavs will let Travers continue to play in Australia, getting more reps and playing time as a way to develop his skills.
Think of it like “loaning” a player to another team in European soccer; the Cavaliers retain his rights, but since their roster is pretty full right now, they’ll let him improve overseas first.
By giving Travers time, the Cavs remain flexible with their current roster.
Stashing players isn’t a new concept.
Many stashed players go on to have successful NBA careers, including guys like Serge Ibaka, Dario Saric, and Ricky Rubio.
But for every Rubio and Ibaka, there are countless names who never make it to the NBA.
Teams might waive their rights to the player or trade him.
Or perhaps the player might choose to stick around their overseas team.
But with the skill Travers has flashed so far, he’s probably destined to at least be a two-way player in the NBA, splitting time between a pro team and the G-League.
Oh, and while we’re talking about stashes, can we talk about Travers’ hair?
I need Luke Travers in the NBA pic.twitter.com/LttA4Vo6sX
— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) July 10, 2022
Apparently, that hairstyle is fairly popular in Australia currently.
As for when he decided to grow it out, well, here’s Travers with an answer:
“It wasn’t too long ago. Maybe a year and a half. I’ve had long hair my whole life. But I was wearing a headband and just got sick of it and thought there was no better way to get it out of my face than to cut the front and leave the back.”
2. Golden Boy
Wherever Travers has gone, he’s won.
In the semi-professional Australian State Basketball League (SBL), Travers was named Most Improved Player in 2019.
He followed that up by winning the Australian National Basketball League (NBL) championship in 2020.
And the next year?
He won the inaugural NBL Cup, awarded to the team that wins a league-wide, 36-game tournament in February and March.
Luke Travers dishing dimes early 🔥
Watch Nuggets-Cavs live on ESPN U! pic.twitter.com/UILlyVv5w5
— NBA (@NBA) July 10, 2022
But it gets even better.
In 2018, Travers played for Australia’s Under-16 national team at the FIBA World Cup and won gold in the Asian Championship.
In that championship game, Travers went off for 22 points, eight rebounds, three assists, four steals, and two blocks for the national team.
3. Pro Comp?
It’s stats like Travers’ championship game totals that his coaches have called him “versatile.”
One of his assistant coaches in Australia even compared him to another Australian basketball great:
“He could be a different version of the next Joe Ingles, a guy that is multifaceted, can handle the ball, can pass, and is a deceiving athlete. He’s in a great organisation with very high level professional players around him, so to learn from those kind of guys is invaluable.”
Ingles carved out an excellent career for himself in the NBA with the Utah Jazz, before finding his way to Milwaukee this summer.
Even if Travers’ game looks slightly different than Ingles’, if he can contribute at the same level, he’ll have no problem finding an NBA roster.
And it sounds like he’s surrounded by talented players in Australia to learn from, as well.
Which should be music to Cleveland’s ears as they stash the prospect.