By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Travis Bledsoe played at De La Salle High School, so he knew what an honor it was to be asked to take over the basketball program there.

He also knows the long shadow cast by its previous coach, one that includes six straight state titles.

“The legacy and the tradition, the opportunity to carry on the legacy and give back to the school that helped me out so much, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity” Bledsoe said.

It’s a tall order, though. He took over the man who coached him and the man who made state titles an anticipated rite of March.

Dave Thorson moved on to become an assistant at Drake, leaving an opportunity and some pressure.

“It’s unbelievable, unimaginable,” Bledsoe said. “Nobody would understand it unless you were in the shoes.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of Travis,” Thorson said. “There’s no better guy to drive the De La Salle than Trav, and he’s going to be himself. He doesn’t have to be me. What’s so neat is that he understands the tradition, he understands what it means to be an Islander.”

His goal: to be different by being himself.

“I was coached by Coach Thor, so I got a little bit of Thorson in me, but then I’m a little bit smoother in my delivery, and probably a little bit less loud,” Bledsoe said.

With the status of an alum and head coaching experience, he moves into the spotlight, inheriting a talented team and putting his signature on it.

“I’m going for number seven. It’s win or the season’s a failure,” Bledsoe said. “It’s fun to have that kind of pressure; I’d rather have it that way than trying to win five games.”

This is his calling, and this is exactly what he wants: a challenge at a school that started his passion for the game.

Mike Max