Defying The Odds: Travis Cleveland Taking The Next Step Towards D1

Mike PendletonCorrespondent IAugust 14, 2010

Summer's over, and it's back to school for the kids. For some students like Travis Cleveland it's more than back to school, it's that one time everyone has in their life: grind time.

I was blessed to get a chance to sit down and talk with Cleveland as he heads towards Lincoln College (Illinois) and while it's not the level he wants to be at, he can certainly get there and plans on getting to the big name universities. So in talking with Cleveland, I bring you guys an inside look at a man on a mission.

Reflecting back...

Q: From last year to this year what can those expect from you? Where is your roster spot?

A: "Last year was actually pretty rough, I had no scholarship, I was a walk-on, was on the verge of being red-shirted but I continued to work hard. As the season progressed my minutes went up and while I'm not starting, with enough work put in I know I can get there."

Goals, goals and more goals.

Q: What are your goals not only for yourself but for your team as well?

A: "Well personally, I would like to be more of a contributor to the team in practice and in games. I am striving to be that player you want on the floor at the end of games. In the team perspective I obviously would like to bring home another conference, regional, and national championship!"

What have you done for me lately?

Q: What have you done over the summer to improve your game?

A: "A lot, I started off the first two months doing early morning workouts, shoot around, then later on in the night I would head back to the gym and play games to improve on in-game situations. Shortly after that I started doing conditioning, from running on treadmills to outside running I just wanted to be in shape to have stamina for ball handling, rebounding, and shooting drills."

Major improvements, and what will they say?

Q: What's going to be your major improvement and at the end of the day what will the fans say about you?

A: "I definitely have improved my court vision, I have been working all summer to find the open man, last year I was looking more to shoot first than pass first. So now I'm looking to find the open man and improve my on-ball defense. At the end of the day I hope they saw that I have used my God-given abilities to become the best player I can be."

"If all that happens I hope to reach my first destination of Division 1 basketball"

As always it was a pleasure talking with Cleveland. The college basketball world should be taking notice because this is one kid who doesn't know how to stop. He's on a mission to be one of the best players in the game. He won't take no for an answer.