Lake Travis basketball practices will be a little less crowded this year. That’s because D.J. Thorpe, the Cavaliers' highly touted forward, has made his college decision by committing to the University of California earlier this school year.

Thorpe, the 6-foot-8 son of former NBA player Otis Thorpe, is among a crop of talented big men in the 2019 class who will play collegiate basketball next season. Westlake's Will Baker will play at Texas, Hendrickson's Dylan Disu has pledged to Vanderbilt and Connally's Eddie Burgess has yet to commit.

According to Thorpe, he wanted to make his college selection before his senior season.

“I always planned to get the whole process figured out before basketball season started so I could focus on being there for my guys and playing for them,” D.J. Thorpe said.“It’s the perfect fit for me.

“I have aspirations to play at the highest level, but I also have bigger aspirations and life goals. I think Cal is the place that can get me there. The ball is always going to stop bouncing.”

Thorpe, a third-team All-Central Texas selection by the American-Statesman last season who averaged 13 points and 9.5 rebounds, has had a big hand in raising the Cavs’ profile. Lake Travis practices have been a popular hangout for college coaches.

“It gives other players in the area a sense that we’ve got some good players over at Lake Travis as well as other (schools),” Cavs coach Clint Baty said. “D.J. is a good academic student, too, so Cal-Berkeley is going to fit him. They’re getting a good kid.”

Lake Travis enters the season ranked No. 4 in Class 6A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, after coming one win shy of a state tournament appearance in March. The Cavs lost to district rival Westlake in last season's Class 6A Region IV finals.

Thorpe headlines a talented crop of seniors for the Cavs. Versatile forward Bennett Mohn recently committed to Longwood University in Farmville, Va., and three-year starting point guard Ryan Bormann is expected to make his college choice soon. The Cavs could have three Division I starters by the time district play rolls around.

However, all signs point toward Garrett Wilson, the team’s leading scorer last season, not returning to the hardwood. The 6-foot-1 dual-sport star is headed to Ohio State as a wide receiver, likely at the semester break.

Baty wouldn’t rule out a Wilson return, joking that “as long as he’s still at Lake Travis, there’s still hope.”

Regardless, the Cavs will open their season Friday against Vista Ridge with Thorpe as their linchpin. Lake Travis will have to replace the production of Luke Hamilton, who is now at Mercer. Senior guards Luke Depperschmidt and David Gregory return with playoff experience.

“Either way I think we’ve got a very strong team," Baty said. "We’ve got a lot of guys that are fully bought into what our program stands for, and I think we can make a push to be a real contender in the state.”