As we showed
you earlier this week, Anthony Davis is on the cover of the NCAA Tournament
preview edition of Sports Illustrated. Well, the story on Davis inside the
issue was posted online last night.
by Kelli Anderson and focuses what we've been talking about since the moment
Davis played his first collegiate game: his vast defensive impact. The story
features all kinds of quotes from Davis, his teammates, John Calipari and
opposing coaches, as well a statistic that might be familiar to readers of this
There is more statistical value in a block that gives your team a possession than there is with one that flies into the concession stands, but Calipari doesn't mind the latter. "I'm different with that," he says. "I want it to be in play, to knock it softly so we can run down [in transition], but if you knock that thing into row 8, the dude's embarrassed, he ain't coming in there anymore, and now they are all shooting jump shots." (According to Cat Scratches blogger Guy Ramsey, in 31 regular-season games the Wildcats gained possession on 60.3% of Davis's blocks and scored 78 points on the ensuing possessions.)
However you add it up, Davis's presence in the paint is a big reason Kentucky is holding opponents to 36.7% shooting, the best in the nation and the best for a Kentucky team since 1959--60. Davis also allows the Wildcats to take more risks on the perimeter. "They're able to really smother you with their athleticism and length because they know it's going to force you to dribble the ball right to Anthony Davis," says Fox. "If they didn't have him, they'd have to play differently. He's a big part of what they do."
Davis can't explain his talent for swatting--"It just came naturally; I just had great timing," he says--but Calipari, having coached another guard turned big man in Camby, has a thought. "The real shot blockers let the guy release it and then go after the ball," he says, adding that blocking a ball before it's released often results in a foul. "It's hard because that means you can't jump early. You have to be nimble; you can't be a plodder." Davis, he adds, "has guard quickness, guard instincts. There's no slow twitch to him."
going to lie, it was pretty cool to find out my name and my statistic would be
in the print edition of Sports Illustrated. Now, I'm off to go buy as many
copies as I can track down before UK takes on Western Kentucky at 6:50 p.m. on TBS.