Anthony Davis making a case for Player of the Year



Anthony Davis emerged from the locker room and moved toward the horde of reporters waiting to ask him about his latest feats of greatness.

The group around the nearest chair motioned him over.

Davis declined, opting instead for the chair in the back-left of the media room. It’s his customary spot, the one he’s gone to from the beginning. He’s not about to change now — even if everything else is, from his spot on the national scene to his own game.

His 28-point, 11-rebound, five-block performance against Vanderbilt had the feel of a game from a future National Player of the Year.

In the locker room after the game, head coach John Calipari went around complimenting his players. They all “did their thing,” played how they were supposed to, turned in completely normal and competent performances.

And then he reached Davis.

“I said, ‘you were pretty good, too,'” Calipari said. “And the whole team started laughing. They thought it was hysterical.”

That’s mostly because they’re on the same sideline as Davis. They don’t have to try and shoot jumpers over him, or box him out, or anything like that.

“He’s special. He’s a different kind of player,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. “Again, I’m very impressed with how he goes about his business, not just how he plays.”

And, if his game against Vanderbilt is any indication, opponents will have to do even more against him now. Davis flashed a full array of skills. He drove for a scoop-in layup from the top of the key. He splashed a few mid-range jumpers. He didn’t have a single lob, the play that was once the entirety of his offensive arsenal.

“I’ve been holding him back,” Calipari said with a smile. “I’m trying to get him to stay in school another year.”

That’s not happening. Davis will be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. Everybody’s known that for while.

But he’s starting to tilt the reasons why he will be the top pick further from potential and closer to proven production.

“On defense and on offense, he’s just a monster,” said Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who compared Davis’ impact on a game to LeBron James, a former No. 1, freak-of-nature draft choice himself.

For now, Davis is entrenched in the college game.

He’s asserting himself as the best in it with every game he plays.

Asked if Davis should be the national Player of the Year, Terrence Jones said, “I think so. I mean, I think we have the best players in the country. So if it’s anybody, it should be somebody from this team.”

Davis would be that man.

“It would be great to get that award,” Davis said. “At the same time, my main focus is to win a national championship.”

Those two goals — player of the year and national championship — just might be more interconnected than he thinks.

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