Kentucky Basketball: Why Anthony Davis Should Win Player of the Year
It doesn't seem fair that college basketball's most passionate fan base should be allowed to heap unreasonable expectation on a kid who can barely vote.
Yet game after game, the Kentucky Wildcats' star freshman center has proven himself worthy of the gaudy praise bestowed on him by fellow players, coaches, scouts and members of the media.
All season long, Anthony Davis has been an unstoppable force of athleticism and appendages for the Kentucky Wildcats. Whether it’s the 6'10" Davis sprinting ahead of traffic for an easy two, swallowing up an opponent’s shot attempt like a possessed man or doing both of these things in a span of six seconds, Kentucky’s freakishly athletic center remains the 25-1 Wildcats’ most productive player at both ends of the floor.
On a loaded Wildcat team that features mercurial point guard Marquis Teague, top recruit Michael Kidd Gilchrist, sharp-shooting sophomore Doron Lamb and supremely talented forward Terrence Jones, Davis ranks first in points, rebounds, steals, blocks and field goal percentage.
Offensively, Davis tends to rely on a steady diet of transition buckets, or put-backs and alley-oops in half court situations.
Davis’ team-leading 14 points per game are earned primarily as a product of sheer hustle, rather than an elite back-to-the-basket game like Kansas’ veteran post Thomas Robinson, or a versatile inside-out offensive repertoire similar to Michigan State’s Swiss Army knife, Draymond Green.
In fact, several collegiate players across the country possess an all around better offensive game than young Davis.
It is on the opposite side of the court where Davis distinguishes himself as college basketball’s premier player. If you’ve ever watched a Kentucky game, it becomes blatantly obvious why Davis is considered by some to be college basketball’s greatest defensive talent since the Admiral himself, David Robinson.
Blessed with a wingspan that could stretch across the Grand Canyon, the coordination of a D-I shooting guard (Davis played guard in high school before he grew 10 inches between his sophomore and senior years), and innate basketball instinct, Davis fundamentally exists to:
A. Block/alter any field goal attempt within a 25-mile radius.
B. Collect any errant rebound with those tentacles that he calls arms.
After his seven-block, eight-rebound performance against Vanderbilt Saturday, Commodore’s head coach Kevin Stallings praised Davis, stating that he “couldn’t imagine that there is a more impactful defensive player in all of college basketball.”
Davis, who is currently averaging close to 10 rebounds and five blocks per game, is the rare basketball player able to dominate a game offensively and defensively.
And for now, this is why he gets the nod just ahead of Kansas’ Thomas Robinson.
The Kansas forward is certainly in the midst of a fantastic season—His 18 points and 12 rebounds per game on 55 percent shooting make Robinson the surest two points in college basketball.
But comparing Robinson’s slight offensive edge to Davis’s infinitely superior defensive edge is like comparing Apple stock with Blockbuster's.
To me, the decision is clear. Would you prefer one of the finest defensive big men in the history of college basketball patrolling the paint, or the mediocre defender responsible for approximately 20 percent more offense?
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