Few things are more amusing than to be at a class reunion when someone pulls out an old high school yearbook complete with laughable hairstyles and fashion nightmares.
For Kentucky center Anthony Davis, that time frame is only two months. During that span there have been profound changes in how the willowy 6-foot-10 freshman plays in the paint.
“It would be real funny to see,” Davis said of his first collegiate games. “It really makes a difference when you listen to him. Cal actually wants to throw the ball to me in the post now. I’m getting great looks.”
The key is bending his knees and staying low, which enables him to hold his own against more mature and physically stronger defenders.
“It makes the game a lot easier when I stay low, hold your ground when they try to push you up,” Davis said. “If I stay low, I’ll be fine.”
Davis was much more than fine in Kentucky’s 87-62 victory over Chattanooga Saturday night at Rupp Arena. He recorded a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first half and finished with 14 points and a whopping 18 rebounds.
“We worked on it for two days but some guys came in the game and just got pushed to the top of the key like they weren’t ready to play,” coach John Calipari said. “Anthony Davis held his ground. He wasn’t pushed. Then he rebounded every ball. If I had left him in a few more minutes he would have had 20 rebounds.”
Davis didn’t seem too upset about missing the magical 20. “I don’t worry about stats,” he said. “I just got out there to play and have fun.”
Davis grabbed five offensive rebounds and 13 defensive rebounds.
“If I get a defensive rebound that means they got one shot and out and maybe we’re on the break,” he said. “If I get an offensive rebound that means we get another chance to score, whether it’s me or if I kick it out to someone else for a shot. Either way, it’s more opportunities to score.”
Teammate Marquis Teague was duly impressed, so much so that the point guard had to guard against becoming a spectator.
“Sometimes Coach Cal says he’s the only one out there rebounding and he really is like with 18 rebounds tonight,” Teague said. “Sometimes we take him for granted. We know we should go get some rebounds, but we just let him get it. We relax sometimes.”
Davis, predictably, was on his own critic.
“You should never be satisfied with what you do, you should always want to do better,” he said. “I had 18 rebounds, but I could have had more. They had 11 offensive rebounds, which means I could have had more defensive rebounds. You’ve got to block out and hold your position.”