The 2015-16 college basketball season is just around the corner. In honor of the Flyers winning 53 games the last two seasons (and because I couldn’t come up with 2,015 reasons), I’m counting down 53 reasons (in no particular order) to look forward to the season.
Follow the blog between now and the season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 13. I will have four to five updates per week.
I’ll post links on Twitter (@DavidPJablonski) and on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DavidPatrickJablonski.
No. 17: Kyle Davis defense
I touched on almost all the players on the team earlier in this list. I had to save somebody for the final weeks of the countdown. Kyle Davis was a good one to save, and this is a good day to write about him.
Today in Brooklyn, the Atlantic 10 coaches and select media members (not me because I’m not there) voted in the preseason poll (I was mildly surprised to see UD is the favorite) and named the preseason first, second and third all-conference teams. They also named an all-defensive team, and somehow the lockdown-defender Davis didn’t make the list.
People who follow the Flyers know what kind of slight this is. It might be worse than Archie Miller not being named coach of the year last year because at least that award went to the coach who’s team won the regular-season title, Davidson’s Bob McKillop, even if Miller performed a coaching miracle in guiding his seven-man team to 27 wins.
Here are a few of the reactions to the Davis snub:
This was Davis’ reaction:
Davis is known for his defense. He helped limit Providence star Kris Dunn to 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting in the second round of the NCAA tournament in March. Dunn, who is this season’s pick for Big East Preseason Player of the Year, committed seven turnovers. Davis had five steals.
According to KenPom.com, Dunn had an offensive rating of 103.0 for the season, which ranked 57th in the country. His rating against Dayton was 63, his third-worst of the season. He topped 100 in the previous five games.
After that game, Jordan Sibert said of Davis, “Kyle is the driving force on defense for us. And his toughness is something that’s unmatched. And without him, you know, we wouldn’t have won half the games this season. He’s the starter on defense and he leads the way, and without him, I don’t know that we would have got that win tonight. He did a terrific job on Dunn tonight.”
Archie Miller had similar praise: “Kris Dunn is probably the best point guard in all of college basketball. He is so fast, delivers the ball so fast. Kyle was able to at least contain and keep him in front and be tough, especially when they were setting ball screens, and I thought just in general his energy level here, to be able to play the amount of minutes and as hard as he’s playing against some of the guards he’s playing, it’s sort of one of the big, big reasons why we were able to win. It’s one thing to shoot well and make free throws. It’s another thing to have just a total attention to detail and locked in on defense against the other team’s best guys. And it’s not easy to do. But on this type of stage and this type of environment, he’s ready to go.”
I talked to Archie in May about his expectations for Davis this season.
Q: Kyle Davis is known for defense but does many things for this team. Will his role change at all?
A: Kyle’s one of those very unique guys. He’s integral in winning. He’s integral in your culture. If you can add a couple elements to his game, then he becomes even more dangerous. Kyle knows this. One of the things he’s spending a lot of time on this summer is shooting the ball. If he can become better, like a lot of our guys have, he becomes an added weapon. In terms of who he is, how he does things, he’s always going to play an integral role because of the way he plays.