Kings sign super athletic swingman – Travis Leslie heads to the harbour city
The Sydney Kings took a step towards completing their 2017/2018 NBL roster, signing high-flying swingman Travis Leslie for the upcoming season.
Leslie, the team’s second import signing, spent his off-season with the Indiana Pacers competing in NBA Summer League play. During the event, Leslie scored at least 20 points on two occasions, rebounded strongly and demonstrated all-round contributions that caught the eye of Andrew Gaze – who was a guest assistant coach for the Pacers – and Managing Director Jeff Van Groningen who took in the NBA off-season event.
“I was fortunate to be able to see Travis’ strengths up-close over a decent period of time during Indiana’s summer program. In speaking with Jeff about what we want to do this year, we felt that Travis would be a fit for that – he’s a talented player, athletic and strong and brings a versatility that we think is really valuable”, Gaze stated.
The man who uses a Twitter handle ‘FlightLeslie23’ is expected to set Qudos Bank Arena alight with his athleticism and above-the-rim exploits.
The two-time dunk contest winner during his professional stint in Lithuania, Leslie himself says he can’t wait to get started.
“I would like to thank Coach Gaze and the Sydney Kings organization for this amazing opportunity. I’m very excited to be a part of the Kings family and can’t wait to put on that purple and gold.
I’ve heard nothing but great things about the organization, fans, and the city. I Can’t wait to get things started with my new teammates and coaches and I’m looking forward to singing “the Kings are having a party” victory song a lot this season”, Leslie said.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, the 193cm (6’4”) 93kg (205lb) Leslie had an excellent college career. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers with the 47th pick of the 2011 NBA draft after a stellar campaign in his junior year, when he averaged 14.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game and was named to the All-SEC second team.
Following a short stint with the Clippers, Travis enjoyed a solid career in the NBA Development League and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2013 NBA D-League All Star Game. He played for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the 2016-2017 competition and averaged 13.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 50% from the field.
Leslie has also played in a number of top-tier European leagues, spending time in France, Germany and Lithuania, leading the Lithuanian league in scoring in 2014 and named MVP of that’s league’s All Star Game in 2015.
Importantly, Leslie has the ability to play a number of positions on the floor, adding a coveted level of flexibility to the purple and gold roster this season.
In the tradition of high-flying imports like Dwayne McClain, Leon Trimmingham and Isaac Burton, Leslie figures to be an excitement machine this season at Qudos Bank Arena and will be part of an exciting guard and wing rotation alongside Australian Boomers Kevin Lisch and Jason Cadee, Todd Blanchfield and Brad Newley.
Sydney Kings Managing Director Jeff Van Groningen hailed Leslie's addition as an important one for the franchise and paid tribute to his character and work ethic.
“We prioritise recruitment of players we feel will most benefit from and contribute to our focus on enjoying the process here, competing strongly and taking pride in playing for the Sydney Kings. Travis is really solid person – the playing side of things will take care of itself I’m very sure. He’ll help us win and it doesn’t hurt at all that he does it in a way that will be exciting for the fans to be part of”, Van Groningen said.
Travis is expected to join his new teammates in late August.
The Kings will officially tip-off the 2017/2018 preseason with a game on Thursday 10 August against the University of Oklahoma at Penrith Basketball Stadium.
TRAVIS LESLIE BIO
Born: March 29, 1990
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Height: 193cm (6’4”)
Weight: 93kg (205lb)
Position: Shooting Guard
All-NBA D-League Second Team (2013)
NBA Development League All-Star (2013)
NBA Development League All-Star Game MVP (2013)
BBL MVP (2014)
BBL Finals MVP (2014)
2× LKL All-Star (2014, 2015)
2× LKL Slam Dunk Contest Champion (2014, 2015)
Lithuanian League leading scorer (2014)
LKL All-Star Game MVP (2015)
Second-team All-SEC (2011)
High school: Columbia High School (Decatur, Georgia, USA)
College: University of Georgia (2008-2011)
Professional: Los Angeles Clippers (NBA) 2011-2012
Bakersfield Jam (NBA D-League) 2012
Santa Cruz Warriors (NBA D-League) 2012-2013
ASVEL Basket (France Pro A) 2013-2014
BC Šiauliai (Lithuania LKL) 2014
Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania LKL) 2014-2015
Medi Bayreuth (Germany Bundesliga) 2015-2016
Fort Wayne Mad Ants (NBA D-League) 2016-2017