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Travis Perry 'blessed' to 'live out a dream' as Kentucky Wildcat

Jack PIlgrimby:Jack Pilgrim06/25/24

Travis Perry will be the first to tell you he had to come back down from the clouds after an all-time senior year of high school. Between becoming the state’s all-time leading scorer in KHSAA history, cutting down the nets at Rupp Arena after leading his Lyon County squad to a state championship and signing with the winningest program in college basketball history — his dream school as a kid — there wasn’t much he left on the table to wrap up a historic 365 days for the Eddyville native.

That’s why he needed some time once he graduated from high school to decompress and catch his breath, something he’s still trying to do as a freshman in Lexington.

“It’s been a lot of highs, obviously, for me and for our town. And then as you go through the offseason, you’re trying to stay in the right mindset and everything,” Perry said. “So to get on campus for a little bit, get settled in, that’s been good.”

His time at Kentucky started with orientation and summer classes to get his feet wet a bit. From there, his first camps and the Club Blue NEW ERA event — a meet-and-greet with Big Blue Nation where he had a line wrapped around the building waiting for pictures.

“It means a lot, it’s a huge honor. It’s great to meet and interact with all of these people. I think pretty much every person has said thank you for being here,” Perry told KSR at the event. “That’s just something you don’t get a lot of places. That’s something that means a lot. Whether they know it or not, it means a lot to me, and I know it means a lot to the other guys.

Like Coach (Mark) Pope has said many times, it’s not just a saying: It’s not my team, not the players’ team, not the coach’s team, it’s Kentucky’s team.”

That’s not new to him, though, as the most decorated high school talent to ever come through the state. He’s used to fan interactions and loves them. His teammates, though, are new to the experience and just how overwhelming BBN can be at times.

He’s tried to show them the ropes quickly.

“I’ve tried. A bunch of people asked me that today, but it’s hard to put into words really how big it is until you come to something like this,” he said. “You don’t really see how crazy they are about it, how excited they are about it, but I think slowly from the videos we’ve been trying to show ’em and all the stuff they’ve been seeing on the internet, they’re kind of realizing just a little bit more that it’s another level.”

As for everything else that’s come his way this offseason with the coaching change and roster rebuild, Perry said he had no choice but to let everything play out. He tried following along with each staff addition or player signing, but knew he had no control over anything once Coach Cal departed and Pope was hired.

Once it became clear there was a fit, though, he was excited to sign on and enjoy the ride we all rode together this offseason. Looking back at it now, he’s glad he did.

“I tried to pretty closely, but honestly with how — I mean, we had nobody on the roster. The portal is so big, it’s hard to keep up with who we’re really recruiting and going after,” Perry said. “It was it was a neat process, getting to go through seeing who we’re bringing in, who is gonna be my future teammate, try to get to know them a little bit before we got on campus. I feel like we filled out a great roster so I was excited to see it unfold the way it did.”

How does he feel now that the dust has settled and practice is officially underway, the offseason now in the rearview mirror? He’s back up in the clouds, realizing every day that he gets to live out his lifelong dream as a Wildcat.

“It’s a dream come true. You always expect it a little bit, but until you get on the road and get up there, it’s a different feeling,” he said. “I remember coming to camps, waiting outside the Lodge trying to get autographs. Now I’m the one walking into the Lodge to go to my room. It’s just stuff like that puts it in perspective, how blessed I am to be able to live out a dream. It’s just really exciting.”

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