By Eric D. Graham BASN columnist
Updated: April 12, 2012

A winner by example

A winner by example

NORTH CAROLINA, (BASN)—As an 11th grader, Anthony Davis was only 6’foot 3 inches tall’.

Plus, at the time, he had only one college scholarship offer, which was from Cleveland State.

And then, this potential point guard from the Southside of Chicago grew and kept growing.

Until, he stood almost 7-foot tall.

As a result, with the mind of a shooting guard, now trapped in the body of a power forward, he shockingly, one year later, as a freshman, would lead the University of Kentucky to a 38-2 record and their eighth National Championship in school history by defeating the Kansas Jayhawks. 67-59.

This is truly an unbelievable basketball story about a long, lanky 19-year old freshman with a recognizable yet odd looking unibrow and an incredible ability to block shots.

His one court presence and leadership, in fact, gave one of the most controversial coaches in college basketball, John Calipri, his first NCAA Championship.

Along with a NCAA Title, Davis was also named AP Player of The Year, The Wooden Award, 2012 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year, First Team All-America, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, SEC Player of the Year as well as becoming only the fourth Freshman in the history of the NCAA to be named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, which puts him in the same category with Louisville’s Pervis Ellison (1987) and Syracuse’s Carmelo Anthony(2003).

For these reasons, oddly enough, Mike Wilburn of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption claims Davis is the best big man since Tim Duncan, while others say he is simply a better offensive and defensive version of the Chicago Bulls Joakim Noah, who won two National Championships at the University of Florida.

With that said, despite all of the praise and awards given to Davis, he had a strange stat line in the National Title game against Kansas.

For instance, Davis shot a miserably 1-10 from the field during the game, while connecting 16 rebounds, dishing out five assists and blocking six shots.

Offensively, Davis struggled against the Jayhawks but defensively he was brilliant.

The young 19 year old, in fact, altered up to 57 shots during the Tournament while breaking NCAA Division I freshman Hassan Whiteside‘s (of Marshall) 2010 block shot record of 182, by blocking 186 shots throughout the season.

He also tied the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship Gamerecord for blocks established by Joakim Noahin the 2006.

Davis’s ability to block shots is incredible to watch.

But it’s his unlimited talent which could make him the face of an NBA franchise and potentially an NBA All-Star as well as a very wealthy teenager.

Physically, Davis must get stronger and improve his offensive skill set while adding some needed weight to his slim 220 pound frame in order to compete on the next level.

Due to his impressive freshman season, where he averaged 14 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks per game, Davis, more than likely, will end up being the overall No.1 draft pick in the 2012 NBA draft.

The future impact player has until April 29 to decide whether to stay in college or to enter the NBA Draft, where he’ll probably end up in either Washington or Charlotte, depending on the bounce of the magical ping pong ball.

If he lands in Washington, Davis could find himself playing with former Kentucky one and done freshman phenom John Wall.

In a perfect world, John Calipri could also join Davis and Wall by making his coaching transition back to the NBA, where his contract could be seven times more lucrative than the current $5 million he currently earns at the UK.

Whether Calipri will leave Kentucky for the NBA, will be a difficult one, especially with the up and coming 2012 recruiting class, which include Archie Goodwin (ranked 15thth overall), Willie Cauley (ranked 40th overall in the class of 2012 according to ESPN), Alex Poythress (ranked 16 overall), and 6’10’ Nerlens Noelis.