This morning, Davis was named National Player of the Year by Sporting News, likely the first of many honors headed the way of the freshman from Chicago with an intimidating defensive presence and a burgeoning offensive game.
"Davis leads the nation in (blocks), but it's the breadth of his defensive wizardry that separates him from even the best shot blockers," Mike DeCourcy writes. "Davis has an uncanny feel for defending pick-and-roll plays, hedging more effectively than the folks at Goldman Sachs, blitzing more savagely than Terrell Suggs. The residual quickness from his days as a guard allows him to erase jump shots as well as layups."
The 6-foot-10 (though John Calipari speculates he may have grown) forward leads No. 1 Kentucky in scoring (14.4 points per game), rebounding (9.8 per game), blocks (146) and steals (44). He not only tops the nation in blocked shots, but has single-handedly rewritten the UK record books in that category, setting a school record for blocks in a season early in conference play. Davis also set an SEC freshman record for blocks in a season and is on pace to break the overall record as well.
On offense, Davis has been on the receiving end of countless alley-oops en route to shooting 66.1 percent from the field, second nationally. He hasn't abandoned the dunk, but he has shown new dimensions to his offensive ability in recent weeks, culminating in a 21-point outing in the Wildcats' regular-season finale at Florida.
Davis wasn't the only UK player to be honored by Sporting News. His teammate - and roommate - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a second-team All-American and joins him on the All-Freshman team. Kidd-Gilchrist has shown a willingness to undertake any role to help his team win, ranging from the game against Louisville when he was UK's primary offensive option with 24 points and 19 rebounds to games when he stepped back in the scoring department and focused on guarding the opposing team's best perimeter player. On the season, Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds while also ranking among team leaders in assists, blocks and steals.
Davis was also named first-team All-America by Sporting News, as well as SEC player and freshman of the year. Calipari completed the conference sweep for UK, winning coach of the year honors.