Anthony Davis, the artist



Anthony Davis can be described as an artist on the court. The way he contorts his body through the air for slam dunks, the way he unfurls his arms to swat shots.

He can also be described as an artist off the court. When he was a kid, he watched his uncle draw and, through a combination of boredom and awe at his uncle’s ability, wanted to learn. Davis did, and he says he still draws “whatever pops into my mind” — although, more often than not, it’s a cartoon character or a tattoo.

Davis said he’s designed a tattoo for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — a cross with thorns around it — but his teammate opted not to get it.

“Waste of paper,” Davis said.

Although Kidd-Gilchrist decided not to run with Davis’ work, the talented freshman isn’t afraid to show off his work.

“He always shows me what he’s drawn and asks if I like it,” Doron Lamb said. “I always tell him no.”

Lamb said he’s joking when he says that, that Davis is actually good.

His actual talent, however, pales in comparison to what it helps Davis do. He’s been at the epicenter of college basketball since the beginning of the season, and the attention has only increased since then.

At times, he needs a respite from that.

“When you’re drawing, you don’t think about anything else,” Davis said. “It gets your mind off everything.”

Davis has proven adept at doing that. Although he’s garnered the most awards on a team full of players capable of getting them, it doesn’t create a boundary between him and his teammates.

Coach John Calipari noted that he believes, truly believes, that his players care about their teammates’ success. Not because that means the team is playing, but because they care about one another that much.

“That’s not a problem for us,” Marquis Teague said of Davis getting the awards. “We’re happy for him. He deserves everything he gets. He goes out there and plays his heart out, and he’s one of the biggest reasons for all our success.”

Davis knows that. His teammates know that. His coach knows that.

When he was relegated to six first-half minutes against Indiana because of foul trouble, Davis was upset. Not at the officials, necessarily — although his body language did indicate that he disagreed with at least one of the calls — but more because he was on the bench, and his team was out on the court.

He’s not used to that vantage point. He’s almost always on the court if he’s available.

“To sit on the bench for 14 minutes while your team is out there playing hard and giving their all,” Davis said, “and I couldn’t contribute, is hard.”

Davis will likely play more minutes against Baylor. He’ll probably need to for UK to combat their tall frontcourt.

With a win, UK gets to the Final Four with a team that has four freshmen and two sophomores in its rotation. Davis is the most important among them, but collectively it would still be quite the feat.

Davis said he’s heard the critics who say the team’s youth will catch up to it. So far, it hasn’t. And it might not the rest of the way, either.

“I think if we win it all,” Davis said, “it would make the history books.”