BYU’s Brandon Davies Keeps His Profile Low, Productivity HighPosted by rtmsf on December 8th, 2011
Kraig Williams is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after Wednesday night’s game between BYU and Weber State in Provo.
You don’t have to be a huge college basketball fan to know the story of Brandon Davies last season. As the calendar turned from February to March, BYU was America’s darling. The team was ranked #3 in the nation and had vanquished conference foe and #4 San Diego State on the road in its last outing.
The national spotlight that had shown so brightly on BYU quickly turned into an interrogation lamp with the news that Davies had been kicked off the team and out of school for an honor code violation. The violation was widely reported as him having premarital sex with an undetermined female. [ed. note: the actual facts surrounding the honor code violation remain unknown to us at this time, and we make no further claim as to the identification this female or any other sexual partner.] Something that would be so commonplace at many colleges and universities around the country ended Davies season in March and consequently sparked a firestorm of national debate regarding BYU’s honor code. Without him in the post, the Cougars still went on to have a dream season before being knocked out in the Sweet Sixteen by Florida.
Whether you believe Davies deserved the punishment or not, he accepted it without complaint. After the season ended, Davies quietly went about getting himself reinstated to the university and did just that and on August 26 when he was readmitted for the fall semester. When BYU had its first exhibition game against Midwestern State in late October, Davies was noticeably cheered louder than the rest of the starting lineup. The BYU faithful had forgiven and forgotten, his sins had been redeemed, and basketball could again become the focus.
On the court it had been widely assumed that Davies would become the focal point of the Cougar attack this season. His numbers so far, however, are nearly identical to his sophomore season. The big man had averaged 11.4 points and 6.2 rebounds in nine contests this season, after going for 11/6 last season. As with much of basketball though, individual impact on a team often transcends the box score. Davies rebounds the ball well and is good enough offensively to keep defenses honest in the post. The attention paid to him because of his skill set keeps frontcourt mate Noah Hartsock from seeing many double teams, and has allowed Hartsock to get off to an incredible start to the season (16.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG).
Against Weber State on Wednesday night, the duo of Hartsock and Davies easily ate up a much smaller and outmanned Wildcat team. Weber came into the game with dreams of winning in Provo for the first time in its history, but without Kyle Bullinger, who suffered a nasty dislocated elbow in the Wildcats’ last game and his replacement Frank Otis leaving the game seven minutes in with an apparent ankle injury, the dream was just that. At the half, Davies had 11 points, six rebounds and three blocks as the Cougars went about demoralizing the Wildcats. With the damage already done and BYU in cruise control, Davies played just six more minutes and finished with 11 points and nine rebounds in a 94-66 dismantling of the Wildcats.
Davies is simply doing more of what he did last year, quietly doing his job and taking the pressure off the other players around him. Hartsock is getting most of the media attention, as he has proven to be a formidable scorer down low, and swing man Charles Abouo has taken a monumental leap in every category to help replace the Jimmer scoring void. With all the attention Davies received for a situation unrelated to basketball last spring, he probably doesn’t mind flying under the radar for a little while as he gets back to full strength as a member of the team again.