UK Basketball: Anthony Davis set UK blocked shots mark in just 19 games
Victoria Grafffirstname.lastname@example.org Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis (23) set a single-season blocked shots record Tuesday, getting seven in an 86-63 win over Arkansas, to give him 89. He also had a career-high 27 points with 14 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season. (Victoria Graff)
Davis set a single-season blocked shot record by blocking seven shots in Tuesday’s 86-63 win over Arkansas that increased his total to 89 in only 19 games. Melvin Turpin needed 31 games and Andre Riddick 34 to each block 83 shots and hold the previous record.
“I just looked at him and said ‘You played good again.’ Anthony Davis. You can imagine, he does what he does every game. That's who he is. I mean, he's getting points, not being a pig. Getting up there and getting the ball,” Calipari said.
Davis had his 10th double-double with a career-high 27 points and 14 rebounds to go with his seven blocked shots. He also already has 197 rebounds, sixth-best among any UK¿freshman.
Calipari coached Marcus Camby at Massachusetts on a Final Four team. One of his UMass assistant coaches, current Drexel coach Bruiser Flint, called the UK coach and said Davis does the same things for Kentucky that Camby once did for UMass.
“He clears up all your errors, and he's back there,” Flint told Calipari.
Calipari recalled another game when UMass played Princeton and the Tigers “ran their best backdoor stuff” and Camby had 11 blocks in a 30-point win.
“Well, they ran their stuff, but he cleaned up all the mess. This kid does the same. He also does it in the press attack. Now all of a sudden you make any kind of mistake, and we're throwing it to him and he's dunking the ball. That's a tough one to deal with,” Calipari said.
“So on both ends he does it, and he's getting better. He's making free throws. He's making jumpers. You're seeing more of his game. “
Calipari avoided answering a question about whether Davis was the best collegiate defender in the last 10 years.
“Let the season end and you can look back at numbers and find out. I've been blessed that I've coached two of the great shot blockers who are unbelievably nice people who defer to their teammates, are not selfish, don't have a selfish bone in their buddy, neither guy, and I was fortunate enough to coach both of them,” Calipari said.
Then the Kentucky coach couldn’t resist doing a little wishful thinking.
“Maybe I can coach Anthony three years like I did Marcus). That would be a lot of fun, too. I'm going to try to influence him that way,” Calipari said.
Davis is already being projected as the No. 1 pick in the June NBA draft.
Defense: Kentucky limited Arkansas to 40.4 percent shooting (23-for-57) from the field, but the Razorbacks got three 3-point goals and four baskets in the final four minutes after Calipari started substituting.
“We're a good defensive team. We gave them, again, think about this, in the last two minutes, we gave them three baskets which put them from 38 percent to 40 percent, which is why it drives me crazy. Why would you let him go 4-for-4 to end the game, which is basically what we did?” Calapari said.
Kentucky came into the game ranked second behind Wisconsin in field goal percentage defense. The UK coach said it’s important for his team to “take pride in your defense” a full game.
“We have a chance to lead the nation in field goal percentage defense, why wouldn't we? Well, don't worry about it. We'll finish seventh. Well, that's an honor. That's a badge of honor, to be that good,” Calipari said. “But what happens is the last two, three minutes of the game, those guys got to guard too, or they're going to end up playing 30 seconds instead of two minutes. So it is important that way.
“Plus, I want to see Kyle (Wiltjer) get better. I want to see Twany (Beckham) not break down and make mistakes. I want to see that I can go to those guys. Eloy (Vargas), get a block, get a rebound and come up with something. That's your opportunity to show us what you should be doing.”