May 27, 2016

Friar is one to watch

Kevin McCarthy

photo of Travis Friar

When your father double-dipped, meaning playing college basketball and also taking to the mound in baseball, which endeavor might have an edge for a sports-playing son? For Travis Friar, it was simply hoops all the way.

For the 6-foot-7 Friar, a 2017 prospect at Archbishop Mitty, the speed of the game made the difference. "Basketball is such a high-paced game," he explained. "You have to always be alert and in the moment. There's too much time off in other sports."

His father Steve, although a member of the San Jose State University Spartan Baseball Hall of Fame, early on started instructing his son in basketball. "He began working with me when I was really young, teaching me the fundamentals."

As a freshman at Los Gatos High (the younger Friar transferred to Mitty as a sophomore), adjustments were needed. "I was really soft and afraid of contact back then," Friar recalled. "I had to adjust to the physicality and start going through players rather than around them." Friar's confidence level rose commensurately as this evolution was happening.

Now, he employs his physical talents--"my athleticism and my length"--to good effect in "running the floor and guarding smaller guys."

However, Friar was sidelined for a period of time this season with Mitty due to suffering a concussion. Because of this, he cites his best basketball moment as "my first game back this year at Sacred Heart Cathedral," noting, "we won in overtime."

What's particularly intriguing is that some of the players he battles against in the West Catholic Athletic League, become his spring and summer teammates on his Top Flight Elite (TFE) 17u squad. As Friar explained, "During conference play, "I get more amped up facing my TFE teammates. My competitive desire goes to another level."

He credits Top Flight Elite Coach Jamon Osby for "helping me develop skills on and off the court."

About Friar, Osby offered, “Travis is a very unique basketball talent, he is one of those players that doesn’t quite have a position but does so many things well on the floor. At 6-foot-7, he can play both inside and out, can pick or pop off the pick in roll and causes matchup problems with the other teams. He has great length and athleticism and can finish above the rim with ease. His biggest threat is his shooting ability being able to stretch the floor as he is currently second on our team in three-point shooting at 39%."

Continuing on, he said, "Back in middle school when I first met Travis, he was a little passive on the basketball floor, but as he has matured and gotten stronger, both mentally and physically, his game has blossomed. He was excited about this past high school season but missed most of it due to the concussion. With that setback, he is now using that as motivation for his comeback this AAU season. Our team went 12-4 through four tournaments so far and Travis was a big factor in our success. In addition, last weekend he participated in the West Coast Elite Nor Cal All Star camp where he played well all weekend and was selected to play in the top 20 game."

Regarding the next level, "he has the ability to play anywhere from the 2 to the 4 depending on the right situation and style of play. This summer will allow him to show coaches what he has to bring. He is definitely a 2017 NorCal sleeper."

Asked about his preferred major at the next level, he offered, "I'll definitely be a business major because it's a general thing but you can go a lot of different ways with it.' His down-the-road goal is starting up and owning a new company," something his father did.

With recruiting, Friar is open but would love to stay on the west coast. "I love it down in Los Angeles and San Diego because it's always warm there."

But first comes the critical spring and summer of his junior year followed by another go-around in the WCAL with friends and foes alike.