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Travis Bledsoe also wants to give back to basketball-loving Native American youth on reservations

 

 

By Sheri Crockett

Contributing Writer

Travis Bledsoe and I met at a Caribou Coffee Shop in Brooklyn Park. My first impression of him was he is laid back, confident, and very easygoing. My impression was correct; not only that, he is also soft spoken. On this day we met to talk about Travis’ life; the 2005 graduate from DeLaSalle High School has grown into quite the young man.

At DeLaSalle Travis lettered in basketball three times and was one of the student-athletes named in the 2005 class of Mr. Basketball nominations. He was named to the all-state first team as a senior, named as an Inner-City Mr. Basketball finalist, earned all-conference honors and was also ranked number 10 on GopherIllustrated.com’s list of top 30 Minnesota high school seniors.

After graduating high school, he decided to travel to North Dakota to attend the University of North Dakota. He states that he decided to go there because his high school coach, Dave Thorson, was from North Dakota. Another factor in his deciding to go there was when he went to visit, he actually liked the school and the basketball program.

When asked how did he keep himself busy, as we all know North Dakota is flat and relatively uninteresting to young people, his response was the he focused on school and getting to the gym to workout every day.

His first year in the basketball program was his red-shirt season, which means that he had an opportunity to learn the program and work out with the team. When his career was over at UND, he ranked fourth on the on the all-time three-point field goal accuracy list (41.2 percent) and fifth all-time on the free-throw accuracy list (84 percent).

While at UND Travis had a chance to travel to Devil’s Lake, a Spirit Lake Tribe reservation in North Dakota. Being at Devil’s Lake with kids who loved basketball and soaked up everything that was brought to them really touched Travis. He decided that he wanted to give back in some way, so he started the Last Hoop Foundation. He would like to use his foundation to host clinics and supply basketballs and jerseys to the kids on the reservation.

The foundation is in the start-up phase, and Travis is working with Greg Amundson, the girls’ head basketball coach at Centennial High School in Circle Pines, MN, where Travis also coaches. Coach Amundson was named Native American National Coach of the Year. He and Travis are collaborating on an idea to travel to different reservations to introduce his foundation.

I am sure with the knowledge and passion Travis has for his foundation it is sure to be a success. I asked him if his foundation was going to do things in the Twin Cities area. At this time his focus is going to be for Native American youth on reservations. I do not doubt that when his foundation is off and running successful, he will do things in the Twin Cities.

Currently, Travis writes for Slam Online magazine (www.slamonline.com). He decided to get into writing after taking a creative writing class and a sports business class in college. Both classes gave him the freedom to write, and the sports business class allowed him to write about sports. Travis has been in the world of basketball for a while and has made networking connections, and it was during this time he met the editor for Slam Online, Ryne Nelson.

Slam magazine is considered the source for the best in basketball, NBA, college and high school. Travis has only been writing for Slam Online for about a month, and his current article is about his journey into getting to the NBA. He did participate in the NBA “D” league tryouts in Chicago during the first weekend in June. Now he is in the waiting status, he says his tryouts went well and he feels confident about how he played.

Travis has a five-year-old daughter, and the last question I had for him was what kind of legacy he would like to leave for his daughter. His response: “I want her to feel like her dad was known as the most influential basketball player to come out of Minnesota.”

With that said, I feel as though this young man will be able to do just that. He is correct in saying that there are great basketball players that come out of the state of Minnesota. I would know — I just met one. Thank you, Travis!

Sheri Crockett welcomes reader responses to [email protected]

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