When analyzing the top basketball prospects in the country a name that is always mentioned is Starkville Highís small forward, Travis Outlaw (6-10, 190). Some people question why this talented athlete committed to stay at home and play for his hometown Mississippi State Bulldogs, when he could have gone anywhere in the country, but Travis has no second thoughts. One of the big reasons is his dad.
"I wanted to stay close to home," Outlaw commented at his press conference, where he committed to MSU, surrounded by his family. "Iím kind of a Mommaís and Daddyís boy."
Being a Daddy's boy has also help Travis' game. In addition to being a well respected police officer, John Outlaw was also an All-American basketball star at Rust College, so he knows what he is talking about when he advises his son.
"He's got a big influence on me," Travis commented. "He shows me little techniques that help make it easy to score. Just simple moves that donít take so much energy."
John is also a disciplinarian and helps Travis learn from his mistakes. "He sits me down and makes me watch the games we lost, and letís me know what I could have done then," Travis said.
"The more he more tells me the more I learn. At first I may try it my way a couple of times and then sooner or later I mess around and try his way, and it works, so I start making it my way," he said with a laugh.
Travis also has a strong influence on the court in his coach and former Bulldog player and coach, Greg Carter. "He helps me out trying to get me used to some of the Bulldog workouts," Travis said.
He also feels Coach Carter brings a lot to his team. "I am thinking we are going to have a lot because the coach came in with good plays and good coaching strategies, keeping the team in line and definitely keeping me on track," he said.
So what is Travis going to bring to Mississippi State next season? "Iím hoping to bring talent and being consistent with my play, and holding my own," he commented. "I donít want to come in a s a weak link."
Outlaw plays small forward and hopes to come in as an offensive threat. "I'm hoping to be a scorer," he said after averaging 23 points and ten rebounds last season.
He is also a defensive terror in high school averaging seven blocks a game. "The highest I had was 21 blocked shots, but that was as a freshman," he said. "People just stopped shooting around me, then."
Mississippi State is fortunate to have a player as talented and as well mannered as Travis already committed to the program. Bulldog fans can thank his relationship with his father for keeping him at home.