By Mr Edward G Worley (ACC)March 23, 2012
MADISON, Ala.--Travon Landry doesn't consider himself to be a bluegrass music fan. He's into rap and hip-hop. But he's got a lot of the bluegrass standard, "Rocky Top," in his future.
He officially committed to play basketball for the University of Tennessee Volunteers and will get plenty of chances to hear the song played by the university band at sporting events.
Travon, a 6 foot 1 inch junior point guard for the Bob Jones High School basketball team, made a verbal commitment to the Vols in December. The 16-year-old is the son of John and Tracy Landry. John Landry is a logistics management specialist in the Army Contracting Command Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, Redstone Arsenal, Ala.
He chose Tennessee over several other universities - including fellow Southeastern Conference schools Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia and Vanderbilt--because Tennessee's program "fits my style of play," he said.
"I'm a leader on the court," he explained. "I push the ball up the court and get it into the hands of the shooters. Coach (Cuonzo) Martin (Tennessee's head basketball coach) expects his point guard to be a leader on the floor. I lead by example. I don't care about the stats; only that we win."
According to Danny Petty, Bob Jones High School head basketball coach, Travon's two biggest assets are his speed and his basketball IQ.
"Travon is really quick and he can "D up" with anyone." Petty said. He often assigns Travon to defend the opposing team's best player.
College basketball scouts agree.
The Web site, Insider.ESPN.Go.Com, says, "Landry is a pass-first point guard that knows how to run a team and is an extension of the head coach on the floor. He is more concerned about winning than stats, but has shown the ability to take over a game when his team needs him."
Alabama.247.sports.com says, "The best one-word description of Landry is quick. Quick decisions, quick feet, quick hands. Lock-down defender who loves to play defense and to play
the game, truthfully. He's a pesky defender, and what he lacks in range, he makes up for with his feet."
Travon's journey to Rocky Top began when he was about 10 years old. He played on an Amateur Athletic Union team that won a national championship for his age group. He said that was his first taste of a big-time victory. That's when he decided basketball was something he could play well.
"Anytime I do something, I want to do it to the best of my ability."
He applies the same principal to his academics, carrying a 3.6 GPA. He plans on majoring in sports management at UT "so I can always stay involved in the game."
The journey has had some obstacles. When he was living in Texas he said he would "shoot baskets in the driveway all night." But the lighting was poor--no streetlights--so his dad installed a light over the backboard so Travon could see well.
Then, in the summer of 2011, the family moved to Madison after John Landry joined the ACC headquarters staff.
Petty said Travon couldn't practice with the team over the summer because he had not transferred schools. Once Travon got on the court, Petty said he knew after the first practice who his point guard would be for the 2011-2012 season.
"We're a fast-break team," explained Petty, who notched his 600th career win in January. "We push it up the floor every chance we get. This is the best fast-break team I've ever had."
Petty said Travon pushes the ball up the floor, sees the defense and knows where to pass the ball. Travon leads the team in assists. He can also shoot when it's needed, scoring a season-high 21 points against Huntsville High School. Travon has had one huge supporter along the road to Rocky Top. He credits his dad with having the biggest influence on his basketball career.
"He's supported me all the way, driving me to tournaments and working out with me. We still work out together."
Travon's hopes his journey takes him to an SEC championship, a trip to basketball's final four, and after college, to the National Basketball Association. But at 6 feet 1 inch, he knows he's at a height disadvantage.
"I hope I grow a lot in the next few years," he said with a chuckle.
For now, Travon is focused on academics and basketball. Bob Jones finished its season at 27-2 after being upset 56-50 by Decatur Feb. 10 in the opening round of the Alabama Class 6A Area 15 tournament.
Landry and the Patriots will have to wait until next year to add another state championship to its 2010 title. And somewhere along the way, the hip-hop fan headed to the University of Tennessee will learn "Rocky Top."