The rise of Davonte Davis in conference play

The rise of Davonte Davis in conference play

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — It’s not exactly a secret that the Razorback men’s basketball team has underperformed in the absences of sophomore forward Trevon Brazile and freshman guard Nick Smith Jr. As Tuesday’s action wraps up, the Hogs sit in the bottom half of the league standings at 3-5, characterized by a four-game skid in January.

It was hard to recognize any of the bright spots during the middle of the month, but with the team riding a two-game winning streak, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that junior guard Davonte Davis’ offensive production has picked up significantly since the spring games began. the sec. .

It’s Davis’ defense that always draws praise from head coach Eric Musselman, but his appearance as a two-way player has been remarkable. He led the team in scoring during Tuesday’s 60-40 win over LSU, marking the fourth time he’s accomplished the feat in eight conference meetings.

Davis is averaging nearly 14 points per game, compared to 7.5 in non-conference games, posting double figures in seven contests. He has posted 16 points six times, including each of the last five.

“He’s playing how we expect him to play and a little bit better,” rookie guard Anthony Black said after Tuesday’s win. “Knocking down shots, dominating the offense most of the time, being a leader. Just being Devo, playing with a lot of energy. And of course on defense just taking their best player out of the game every time and making them look like they don’t usually look.”

Unsurprisingly, Davis’ shooting percentages are better throughout the league in all categories. His 45% from the field is more than 11 percentage points better than non-conference outings, his 37.5% from 3-point range is twice as good as his first 10 games, and his free throw percentage is nearly 82, compared to 76.

Davis has also shown stronger passer and rebounding prowess, averaging nearly a full assist and 2.5 plus rebounds in conference play.

“Most importantly, and my wife said this two days ago, his shot selection has been incredible,” Musselman said. “She’s playing point guard with Anthony. Tonight he tells us to slow down, take a good shot and take advantage of the shot clock. That is maturity on his part, it is him understanding the system, understanding what we are looking for in the final stretch.

“Defensively, again, it’s another level, and now offensively he’s doing the exact same thing. From an offensive standpoint, he’s doing a good job of taking care of the basketball. It’s really great to see the growth in his game.”

Musselman said his players have done a great job of getting into the gym out of practice since the slump hit, and perhaps chief among them is Davis.

“I think I got here at 7:06 and I was finishing or close to finishing the shot,” Musselman said Saturday after the 11 am start against Ole Miss. “His work ethic from him has been extremely consistent every day on his account. and I think he is very focused ”.

Davis and the Hogs will bring their first winning streak of 2023 to Waco, Texas this weekend for the Big 12/SEC Challenge against the No. 17 Baylor Bears, who they last faced in the 2021 Elite Eight. The game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN and the ESPN app.

“I’ve made shots like I do now, so I’m going to keep working hard and keep putting in my work and make sure all these guys are doing the same thing,” Davis said. “We are going to keep improving as a team and keep winning. We dug ourselves a hole and we have to come back from those few losses we had and prepare for Baylor on Saturday. I hope everyone is ready.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *