Wisconsin basketball: Badgers' backcourt duo once excelled as pair of prep QBs
D'Mitrik Trice once threw for 500 yards in a freezing game that sent his high school team to the Ohio state football semifinals.
Brad Davison crushed a rival by throwing for nearly 300 yards when he was just a sophomore.
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As UW's 2017-'18 season opens Friday against South Carolina State at the Kohl Center with a lot of youth and inexperience, the alliance between guards Trice and Davison is already strong because they have so much in common.
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"Even though we play the same position, we just want what's best for each other," Davison said. "So we're not worried about numbers or anything like that, we just want to help the team win."
When the two met at Davison's official visit last year while he was in high school and Trice was a freshman at UW, the football stories started flowing.
After former quarterback Braxton Miller graduated from Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio, and went to Ohio State, the future success of the football program being was questioned.
"Something told me we will be OK because we had D'Mitrik," said coach Jay Minton, Wayne's football coach of 20 years. And his instincts were right. Trice led the team to the regional championship and state finals in his two years as starting quarterback.
Trice really turned heads when he led a fourth-quarter comeback during his senior year at Wayne when he threw for all those yards and four touchdowns in that frigid game.
"It seems like D'Mitrik had so many games like that," Minton called. "He's like a coach on the field, literally. I love where he's at right now, but man ... I would I have loved to see him take a crack at football."
If anyone could relate to Trice's football resume, it was Davison.
When Maple Grove (Minn.) High School faced No. 1 ranked Totino-Grace, Davison was a sophomore quarterback leading a run-dominant team.
"Going in to it, the scouting report on me was: 'Make him throw, make him throw, make him throw! Just don't let them run,' " said Davison, laughing at the memory of it.
He threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns.
Davison would go on to other great high school football games.
Trice and Davison realized they had a lot of other things in common, too -- like a strong identity in their Christian faith -- and they knew instantly that their football backgrounds would transfer over well into their collegiate basketball careers, especially in the Big Ten.
"If you can lead 10 guys in the huddle, you can lead four guys on the basketball court," Davison said.
They have the qualities of good quarterbacks: a keen internal clock, better than average peripheral vision, a comfort level with having the ball in their hands in each possession and of course, leadership ability.
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"As a quarterback you have to see that blitzing linebacker for football," Trice said. "That comes naturally with good quarterbacks. And both me and Brad have that as point guards."
While they have now transitioned in to basketball players, they remain football fans. Trice's team is the Dallas Cowboys and loves watching Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers as a leader.
Every Friday night, Davison still follows his high school team. On Saturday, he's watching college football and on Sunday he's at Buffalo Wild Wings to catch the Pittsburgh Steelers. His brother-in-law L.J. Fort is a backup inside linebacker and special-teams player.
Davison is in an NFL fantasy league with friends back home and roots for his Minnesota Vikings.
"Oh, I love football," Davison said. "Not playing football is like a missing piece of my heart."
Will their football backgrounds help them play the 1-2 guard positions for the Badgers? Probably. Trice thinks it already has.
"There's been a lot of times I've gotten down on myself last year," Trice said.
If he had a turnover, or a bad shot that got him taken out of the game, he couldn't obsess over it. He knew Bronson Koenig would need a breather and he would go back in.
"On the football field, if you throw an interception, you've got to come right back on the next possession and be ready to do something amazing," Trice said.
In last year's NCAA Tournament vs. Villanova he committed a turnover. The Wildcats took the steal and converted it into a layup.
"Obviously in a huge game like that, it weighed on me for a little bit," Trice said. "But I had enough confidence to go back out there and compete."
Davison expects he will handle the challenging moments much the same way. He won't be shy in big moments, because he's already played in them.
"That's one thing I took a lot of pride in at school and I will here -- end of the shot clocks are big moments," Davison said. "I'm very confident in my abilities to make a play. That's something I will definitely look to carry on in college."
And as for the two of them, Davison and Trice are already making plans to live together next year.
"From the first time I met him, he was a bright guy, always smiling happy. Just a great guy to be around," Trice said. "Not to mention he's a follower of Christ, and I am very strong in my faith as well. We just hit it off right away. I could tell I was going to like him on and off the court."
Added Davison: "I want to surround myself with good people that bring out the best in me. He's definitely someone that fits that standard."
This article is written by Lori Nickel from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.