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From the Pressbox: Distinctiveness makes Davis a POY candidate

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Back in December, after Anthony Davis' game-saving block in the win over North Carolina, veteran college basketball writer Chris Dortch send out a tweet that quickly went viral--"could Davis be (John Calipari's) best player ever?"

"I didn't realize D-Rose (Derrick Rose) had so many fans," Dortch said of the reaction to his suggestion.

Back then, nobody was talking about Davis as a national player of the year but now he and Kansas' Thomas Robinson are vying for favoritism for those kinds of honors.

For those like Dortch who favor Davis as POY, it's about impact. Dortch, longtime editor of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, says points are "not a true measure" of what Davis does to put his mark on the games.

"I don't think there's a more impactful player in the country than Anthony Davis," said Dortch. "He just impacts the game in a way that incalculable. If you look at his blocks, and then the shots that he alters, and then the 'reconsiders' (of shots), then he's preventing more than he's scoring and that means he's worth to his team, somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 points per game. I don't think there's another player impacting his team's score and the other team's score to the tune of 35 points per game."

No doubt one of the reasons "The Artist" won the Oscar for Best Picture was it was unique.  Sometimes, in a competition with other worthy rivals, one entity stands out as exceptional or memorable or one-of-a-kind. That's the case one can make for Davis.

"I voted for him for number one," CBS college basketball writer Gary Parrish said of their website's recent survey. "I don't think there's anything wrong with putting Thomas Robinson there right now. He's a deserving number one but when I talk to college basketball coaches, the things they say about Robinson, they could say about (any top player in any year). When you talk to coaches about Davis, they say you've near heard.  'He changes the way we have to play, he changes the sport. He's a one-in-a-generation-type guy. He's a freak.'

"Forget how many shots he blocks, what about the shots not taken because he's there?" Parrish continued. "He's the most talented player on the best team in the country and the impact he has on the game is enough to make him the national player-of-the-year. If I were betting, I think ultimately it's going to be Anthony. He's been everything they said he'd be."

John Wall won the Adolph Rupp Award in 2010 and that's the only one of the national POY awards currently being given out that was ever won by a Wildcat.  If Davis wins the Associated Press honor, he'll have the lowest scoring average of anyone who has ever won it.

"He's a very humble person and a very hungry person," said teammate Darius Miller.  "He never complains about getting the ball. If you watch the games, we don't run a bunch of sets for him and he doesn't complain about that. He's one of the best teammates I've had."

Kentucky's most famous fan, Ashley Judd, has taken notice of the respect Davis has within his own team.

"I think we have a bunch of stars and yet they play as a team. There seems to be a lot of joy that the guys experience in each other's talents. There's a lot of support of each player's individual excellence. Anthony Davis is one of the most remarkable players in a lifetime and you see his teammates loving that and admiring that in him," Judd told "The Leach Report" radio show.

"Him (Davis) and Kidd-Gilchrist are both unique for freshmen," Dortch said. "They can give a doggone about the stats. They just care about the 'Ws'. You just don't see two freshmen of that caliber on the same team that are on the same page, in terms of 'team' before 'me.' That just isn't seen these days. These guys are rare and unique."

Davis has set an otherworldly pace when it comes to blocking shots. He could also be the first Kentucky player since Kenny Walker in the mid 80's to average 10 or more rebounds per game. But as is the case with Dortch, it's something that doesn't show up in the stats that most impresses UK radio network analyst  Mike Pratt--Davis' hands.

"Just put it in the area code," Pratt said of passes directed to Davis.  "You don't even have to have the right number."

Dortch adds that Davis' demeanor is also impressive.

"He was a 6-2 shooting guard hoping to latch on with a mid-major as a shooting guard.  Nobody had any idea he'd get this tall this quickly and he views it as a gift," said Dortch.  "He was brought up well and he's not going to squander this gift and it's fun to watch."

Is it ever.

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