Traveon“Tray” Buchanan, graduate student of sports leadership and recreation and guard for the men’s basketball team at Emporia State, has always expected to be a successful athlete. He used to play football and dreamed of becoming a professional athlete in the NFL until he let his love of basketball take over. Now, he plans to conclude his college career at ESU before going overseas to play professional basketball.
“Basketball is his ride or die,” said fellow teammate Brenden Van Dyke, senior elementary education major. “He’s got a major and everything, but he's going to make a good living playing basketball and I am looking forward to seeing what he does when he goes overseas.”
Buchanan has been named MIAA Player of the Week five times. He says it is a personal accomplishment and a milestone in his career, but he is “hungry for more.”
Before coming to ESU, Buchanan moved around a lot. In fact, his love for basketball came from his uncle and brother, but also when he moved to a school without a basketball team.
“Once I ended up moving to Chicago, around my eighth grade, seventh grade year, the school I ended up going to didn’t have a football team,” Buchanan said. “So I ended up just transitioning to basketball at that time, just playing with my friends, and I eventually got real good at it. Through playing with my friends, through playing with my older brother.”
Buchanan is from Rock Island, Illinois, but moved in eighth grade when his father was offered a job at Northwestern as a chef for some of the athletes there. After the move, Buchanan attended Simeon Career Academy for his freshman and sophomore year. He then went to United Township in East Moline.
Now, he is here at ESU for one last season, after transferring from South Dakota State University. He said he transferred because he felt he couldn’t really show what he could do in his previous situation.
He barely gets pregame jitters, but he does get them. If he needs to calm down he turns on his headphones and this takes his mind to the next level to get locked in. Anything from G Herbo is his go to, especially “Cold World,” but once the ball is tipped, the drive to win takes over and that’s all he focuses on.
Van Dyke has been on the team for three years and says that Buchanan is the first one to put his body on the line. He leads by example, he doesn’t put himself above anyone he calls out his teammates when they aren’t doing what they need to, but expects them to call him out, as well.
“He got that dog in him, I will say that,” Van Dyke said. “He’s got the griddy. He’s got the like, in a non-cocky way, the ‘you can’t stop me.’ And I mean it's the fact, like he does it. He can talk, talk, talk but this is part of the reason that makes Tray, Tray: He's backing it up every game.”
Buchanan cherishes the bonds the boys here at ESU have made and says he already misses them. He gives the credit to his coaches for doing things early with the team like team bonding. They would go get food together or watch games at a teammate’s house.
“We are all brothers on the team,” said Buchanan. “1 through 14 or however many people we got. Everybody is around each other a lot and we all get along for sure.”
Buchanan says the team will be able to talk about the things they accomplished this season for the rest of their lives.