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Article Published February 20, 2020

Travisano’s a Cornerstone for the Tigers

By By Dean Bibens

Mike Travisano has made a multitude of contributions to the Hand boys’ basketball team throughout the past two seasons. A 6-foot-5 junior, Mike is a defensive stopper for the Tigers who’s played a key role in their pursuit of a playoff spot with his skills this winter. Mike is averaging 9.2 points to go with 9.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game for Hand on the year.

“I think a lot of people will say my game has grown a lot since I first started playing,” Mike says. “I lacked confidence as a freshman, but my teammates and coaches have all encouraged me to play more aggressively, and it’s really paid off.”

Unfortunately, Mike’s season took an unexpected turn when he suffered a sprained right MCL during Hand’s game against Shelton on Feb. 3. The Tigers were in a good groove and had won four of their last five games entering the contest. When Mike got injured during the fourth quarter, the crowd at the Polson Gym went silent, and Mike feared the worst-case scenario.

“When I was laying on the ground, it hurt really bad, and I thought it was much worse. I really thought I completely blew out my knee,” says Mike. “As we’ve learned now, it’s not as bad as we thought it was, so I’m hoping to get back in time for states if we qualify.”

Head Coach Jimmy Economopoulos would love for Mike to get an opportunity to play in states. With their record of 6-12, the Tigers need to defeat Law and Sheehan in their last two games in order to guarantee themselves a berth in the Division III State Tournament.

“I was kind of hoping that he’d be back at some point next week,” Economopoulos says. “He’s such a huge part of our team, especially defensively. So, if he’s healthy enough to go, we could definitely use him out there.”

It’s been difficult for Mike to watch games from the sidelines. Mike wants nothing more than to be on the floor and helping his team succeed.

“If I could, I would have liked to been out there the next game, but I knew that wasn’t a realistic expectation,” says Mike “I’m missing it so much, and I’d do anything to be out there.”

While Mike would like to return for the end of this season, he’s focused on getting healthy so he can enter his senior year without any obstacles.

“Next year is my big year, and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that,” Mike says. “If I rush my return before I’m fully healthy, there’s a chance I can completely tear the MCL, and that’s the last thing we want.”

Mike is heavily invested in basketball. Mike’s uncle Brad Clancy, a Hand basketball alum, had a huge impact in fostering Mike’s love of the sport when he was a kid.

“My uncle used to play for Hand way back in the day, and he kind of pushed me to get into the sport,” says Mike. “He lives out in California now, but he still comes to watch me play whenever he visits, and I really have to credit him for driving me to play this sport. He’s why I love it.”

Mike has his sights set on playing basketball in college after he graduates from high school. Mike isn’t sure on where he’s going to go, but knows that he wants to stay on the court on way or the other.

“Basketball is priority No. 1 for sure,” Mike says. “But if that doesn’t work out, I’m fine with going to school to further my education.”