INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Shortly after the 2022 NBA Draft — an evening the Cleveland Cavaliers added 4 new gamers — RJ Nembhard obtained a hilarious textual content from his sister Jayden.
You guys drafted Billy from “Stranger Issues.”
nope Not him. Simply Billy Hargrove’s double — Luke Travers.
Chosen with the no. 56 total decide, the Australian-born swingman has an identical mullet, with curly blonde locks flowing right down to his neckline, and an unmistakable mustache. Travers even comes from the identical space in Western Australia — Perth — as Dacre Montgomery, the actor who portrays Billy within the hit Netflix present that ran for 5 seasons.
“He positively seems to be like him,” Nembhard mentioned with amusing. “That is my present.”
Skilled golfer Cameron Smith is the opposite comparability that sometimes comes after one look at Travers — though he is bought about 9 inches on the Queensland native.
“I like golf and seeing him rocking that coiffure is fairly cool,” Travers mentioned. “The coiffure is fairly widespread in Australia proper now. It is somewhat completely different over right here although.”
So, when did the mullet concept come about?
“It wasn’t too way back. Perhaps a 12 months and a half,” Travers mentioned. “I’ve had lengthy hair my entire life. However I used to be carrying a scarf and simply bought sick of it and thought there was no higher technique to get it out of my face than to chop the entrance and go away the again.”
Travers already has a signature look. However is there extra to him than an beautiful head of hair?
The Cavaliers assume so. He confirmed sufficient on movie and through a pre-draft exercise to get chosen within the second spherical.
Following the conclusion of the New Zealand Basketball League season, Travers packed up, left his household and took the 15-hour flight to Los Angeles, the place he started draft preparation alongside trainers Jordan Lawley and Tony Vasaturo. Travers, dwelling within the states for greater than two months, was in Chicago for the scouting mix. He then labored out for numerous groups, together with the Cavs.
Based on sources, Travers was a part of a aggressive group session early within the course of with Khalifa Diop (Cleveland’s No. 39 decide), Notre Dame guard Blake Wesley, Nebraska guard Bryce McGowens, Cleveland summer time league invite Malik Osborne and Karlo Matkovic — the 52nd total decide of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Travers is not flashy. He would not stand out in particular person drills, missing exceptional athleticism or a sniper-like taking pictures repute. However he is in a position to separate in crew environments, the place he can showcase his basketball IQ, versatility, intangibles, continuous motor and all-around recreation.
“We had Luke in right here for a exercise and I favored what I noticed,” mentioned Mike Gerrity, the Cavs’ participant improvement ace who will likely be teaching the summer time league crew. ‘I used to be actually impressed. Thought he had a very nice recreation. You then return and watch some movie from his time in Australia and get acquainted with the kind of participant he was over there. One of many issues that stands proud to me is its versatility. He can do numerous issues and has a fantastic really feel for find out how to play. I feel he can impression the sport chopping, dribbling and attacking, main the break and bringing the ball up the ground following rebounds. Can in all probability put him on the 4 due to his dimension if you happen to needed to play somewhat smaller. He provides you all that versatility. Carry quite a bit to the sport. You’ll be able to inform guys take pleasure in taking part in with him.”
Though a supply referred to as Travers the very best performer throughout Wednesday’s follow — the finale earlier than flying to Las Vegas — the Cavs aren’t going to be entrance. It is solely July. He was the 56th decide for a motive. Regardless of Travers’ confidence after a prolonged listing of pre-draft exercises and interviews, sensing curiosity from a number of groups, he waited round anxiously on draft night time. He did not really imagine he can be chosen till his title was truly referred to as.
Given Cleveland’s present roster breakdown, the plan is to stash Travers abroad for at the least one other 12 months — a long-term funding which will or could not repay.
“On the finish of the day, it is regardless of the crew desires and that is what I am prepared to do,” Travers mentioned when requested concerning the big-picture plan. “If that is to return and do one other 12 months then it’s what it’s. If that is to remain, then I’ll do this as properly.”
The Cavs opened summer time camp on Saturday with two-a-days. They’ve had three completely different classes — an opportunity for guys to not solely get acquainted with the system and terminology but additionally begin adapting to the NBA recreation. That studying curve is even steeper for Travers who rebuffed curiosity from American schools to show professional in 2019-20, becoming a member of the Perth Wildcats of the NBL. That is the place Primoz Brezec, the Cavs’ worldwide scout, first noticed Travers in particular person. It is the place Travers developed right into a draftable prospect.
This previous season, Travers bought a small style of that NBA model. Former Boston Celtics assistant Scott Morrison was Perth’s head coach. Normal supervisor Danny Mills was once the Philadelphia 76ers director of scouting. Travers — who averaged 7.8 factors, 5.4 rebounds and a couple of.3 assists whereas taking pictures 41.7% from the sphere and 25.0% from 3-point vary — performed in an NBA-like system, with and towards ex-NBAers. However that is the place the comparisons cease.
“Over there, it is a complete ‘nother ballgame,” Travers admitted. “We’re solely taking part in as soon as per week, so you’ve got the entire week to scout a crew and the protection is subsequent stage over there. Everyone seems to be taking part in so arduous as a result of now we have a lot relaxation. I feel with the ability to play towards that type of protection has positively ready me properly. Simply with the ability to perform a little little bit of all the pieces is one thing that comes from Australian basketball.”
It took a couple of days for Travers’ new actuality to sink in. Being at Cleveland Clinic Courts, across the teaching employees and new teammates whereas carrying that Cavs follow jersey has helped. So did a July 1 telephone name from Cleveland people hero — and Australian hoops legend — Matthew Dellavedova.
“He mentioned it is a first-class group stuffed with nice folks,” Travers mentioned of Dellavedova’s suggestions. “He was letting me know if I wanted something whereas I am right here to undergo him. To have that in my nook is fairly particular.”
That was Travers’ first time chatting with Dellavedova — though the teen adopted Delly carefully and admired his gritty recreation. Joe Ingles is one other Aussie that Travers tries to emulate. His taking part in model. His tempo. His two-way impression. His will not again down perspective. His skill to make teammates higher.
Summer season league will give Travers a platform to point out he is greater than a hard-playing developmental mission with a slight body, herky-jerky model and funky taking pictures mechanics. He desires to show that his model can translate, that he can rating the ball higher than his numbers would point out and ultimately turn into a 3-and-D man. Perhaps even make a reputation for himself. One thing apart from a TV character lookalike.
“I like Luke,” Nembhard mentioned when requested to present his first impression of Travers. “He is bought somewhat aptitude to his recreation. He is low key and would not say a lot. However he is studying, desirous to get higher and he is placing the work in.”
Travers has solely been to Las Vegas as soon as. The primary expertise was somewhat completely different, solely 15 years outdated again then. Due to that, there wasn’t a lot he might do in Sin Metropolis. Legally anyway. Will probably be the identical the following few weeks, as Travers is simply 20. No casinos. No playing. No consuming.
Solely this time, he will likely be dwelling out his fantasy as an NBA participant. Even whether it is short-term.
“It has been an unreal expertise and just about what you have at all times dreamed of rising up taking part in basketball,” Travers mentioned. “It is beginning to sink in. Been good enjoyable.”
Get the most recent Cavs merchandise: Here is the place you possibly can order Cleveland Cavaliers gear on-line, together with jerseys, shirts, hats, 2016 NBA Champions merchandise and rather more.
Should you or a beloved one has questions and wishes to speak to an expert about playing, name the Ohio Downside Playing Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or the Nationwide Council on Program Playing Helpline (NCPG) at 1-800-522- 4700
Extra Cavaliers protection