Anthony Davis arrived at Kentucky in 2011 as one of the best freshman prospects in the country and, surrounded by other elite players, he led the Wildcats to the 2012 national championship as a two-way force.
Here's everything you need to know about Anthony Davis' college career at Kentucky.
Anthony Davis' college basketball stats, vitals
Weight: 220 pounds
Years active: 2011-12
NCAA tournament record: 6-0
Career averages: 14.2 points per game, 10.4 rebounds per game, 4.7 blocks per game
What was Anthony Davis' record in college?
Kentucky went 38-2 in the 2011-12 season with Anthony Davis with the Wildcats' only losses coming by one point on the road at Indiana on a last-second 3-pointer and in the SEC tournament championship game to Vanderbilt by seven points.
How many national championships did Anthony Davis win in college?
Anthony Davis won one national championship in his only season of college with Kentucky in 2012.
What kind of prospect was Anthony Davis in high school?
Anthony Davis' ascension in high school – both literally and figuratively – is remarkable, and the two are linked. Davis grew roughly eight inches in a year and a half, which helped him go from a "medium-size prep player to a top performer," according to the Herald and Review in Decatur, Illinois. He was 6-3 as a junior in high school.
As a senior in high school, Davis was considered by some to be the best high school basketball player in the country.
He was so dominant that in a game in which the Chicago Tribune called his worst of his senior season, Davis had 13 points, 12 rebounds, six blocks and five steals. Even his "off" nights were impressive!
Perspectives Math & Science Academy (MSA) was just 1-7 at the start of Davis' senior year of high school and the team finished with just six wins. But Davis was remarkable, averaging 32 points, 18 rebounds, seven blocks, four assists and four steals per game, according to the Chicago Tribune. He had three triple-doubles and a quadruple-double as a senior.
The Kansas City Star later noted that Davis' high school didn't even have a gym. The team practiced and played at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
The following is from the Chicago Tribune:
Davis chose Kentucky over DePaul, Ohio State and Syracuse, according to the Chicago Tribune.
He finished fourth in the Illinois Mr. Basketball voting in 2011, behind UConn's Ryan Boatright and Stanford's Chasson Randle (tie), and Louisville's Wayne Blackshear. Davis was named to a 10-player All-America First Team as a senior.
Davis was one of four McDonald's All-Americans in Kentucky's 2011 recruiting class.
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What was Anthony Davis' game like?
Remember, Anthony Davis was a guard through his junior year of high school. So his skill set is unique that he arrived at Kentucky at 6-10 but he had only been that tall for a year or so. He was a fluid, athletic big man who was unselfish on offense and ferocious on defense. Davis had the third-highest offensive rating in the country in 2012, according to kenpom.com, yet his usage rate was the fifth-highest on the team.
Davis attempted just 20 3-pointers as a freshman and made only three of them, so his offensive game was mostly based inside the arc, especially in the lane. He shot 65 percent on 2-point attempts, making him a lethal scorer from close range.
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What were some of Anthony Davis' best games?
Davis recorded 20 double-doubles in 40 games as a freshman at Kentucky, when he led the near-perfect Wildcats in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, steals and field goal percentage. He was a tremendous force in the paint but his season averages of 14 points and 10 rebounds don't even do his dominance justice, in part because he played alongside six future NBA players.
His first game in college was a 23-point, 10-rebound, five-block, three-assist performance against Marist, while making 10-of-13 field goal attempts, making him just the third freshman in Kentucky history to have a 20-10 game in his debut (along with Sam Bowie and Terrence Jones). That's the kind of player Kentucky had in Davis, a very efficient interior scorer who dominated the glass, protected the rim incredibly well and even chipped in assists to his talented teammates.
Davis' season-high was 28 points against Vanderbilt, when he was an incredibly efficient 10-of-11 from the floor, along with 11 rebounds and five blocks. He once grabbed 18 rebounds against Chattanooga and on two occasions, he had eight blocks in a game. He had 20 games with at least five blocks, including eight games with at least seven rejections.
Even in games in which Davis wasn't a focal point on offense, he was a major disrupter.
Just look at his game on the road at Georgia in late January 2012, when he was just 1-for-2 from the field but grabbed 11 rebounds and had five blocks. He didn't need a high shot volume to be incredibly effective. In fact, his season-high in shot attempts was 13 – a number he reached four times – and he attempted 10 or more shots in a game just 16 times.
Davis averaged just over eight shots per game, which makes his scoring average of 14 points per game all the more impressive.
Davis recorded 18 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks against Louisville in the Final Four in a game in which ESPN Stats & Info noted that the Cardinals missed 16 layups and dunks. He had 18, 11 and six against Baylor in the Elite Eight, and 15 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and two blocks against Iowa State in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
You can watch a full replay of the 2012 national championship game below.
What awards did Anthony Davis win in college?
Here are some of the awards Davis won in college:
- 2012 First Team All-SEC
- 2012 SEC All-Freshman Team
- 2012 SEC All-Defensive Team
- 2012 SEC Rookie of the Year
- 2012 SEC Defensive Player of the Year
- 2012 SEC Player of the Year
- 2012 South Regional Team
- 2012 Final Four Most Outstanding Player
- 2012 All-Tournament Team
- 2012 consensus First Team All-American
- 2012 USBWA National Freshman of the Year
- 2012 Pete Newell Big Man of the Year
- 2012 NABC Defensive Player of the Year
- 2012 consensus National Player of the Year
What records did Anthony Davis set in college and where does he rank among historical greats?
Here are some of the records Anthony Davis set in college and where he ranks in all-time statistical categories:
- 1st in Final Four history in two-game block total (since 1973): 11 blocks
- 1st in NCAA history in blocks as a freshman: 186 blocks
- 1st in blocked shot average in 2012: 4.65 blocks per game
- 1st in Kentucky history in blocks in an NCAA tournament game: 7 blocks
- 1st in Kentucky history in field goal percentage by a freshman: .623
- T-2nd in blocks in a single NCAA tournament: 29 blocks
- 4th in NCAA tournament history in rebounds in a single NCAA tournament (since 1973): 74 rebounds
- 4th in NCAA history in blocks in a season: 186 blocks
- T-4th in Final Four history in two-game rebound total (since 1973): 30 rebounds
- T-4th in NCAA history in rebounds as a freshman: 415 rebounds
- T-4th in Kentucky history in rebounds in an NCAA tournament game: 16 rebounds
- 5th in Kentucky history in field goals made by a freshman: 210 field goals
- T-5th in Kentucky history in field goal percentage in an NCAA tournament game (min. 8 att.): .875
- 6th in Kentucky history in field goal percentage in a season: .623
- 6th in Kentucky history in rebounds in a season: 415 rebounds
- T-9th in NCAA tournament history in blocked shots average in a single NCAA tournament: 4.83 blocks per game
- T-11th in NCAA history in double-doubles as a freshman: 20 double-doubles
What did people say about Anthony Davis?
Kentucky coach John Calipari: "I've been blessed. I've had two...Marcus Camby was 6-3, went to 6-10 in a year. Anthony Davis went from 6-3 to 6-10 in a year. So what you have is a guard-skilled, nimble player in a big man's body. If there are any other young people out there who go from 6-3 to 6-10 I'd like another one. They are different, they are unique. Both of the guys I had were unselfish, great teammates, deferred to their teammates."
Calipari: "What makes him unique and special is here's a guy getting all these awards for player of the year and most of the season, he was the fifth-leading shot-taker on our team. Fifth."
High school opponent Sam Thompson of Whitney Young High School in December 2010: "I've known him for a long time. He's a good guy. I was surprised by the way he blew up this summer. The Anthony Davis I knew was 6-3 and wore goggles."
Mike Helfgot of the Chicago Tribune: "Five of the area's top players took to the Chicago State court at the same time Thursday. Anthony Davis might be the cream of that – or any – crop."
Chicago Tribune: "Unknown even to high school basketball analysts and junkies through three seasons, his decision not to transfer after his sophomore year paid off."
Joe Juliano of The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Kentucky's Anthony Davis shows in no uncertain terms why he is college basketball's player of the year and the absolute mortal lock No. 1 pick in the next NBA draft. The 6-foot-10 freshman played an incredible role in the Wildcats' 69-61 victory over Louisville in Saturday night's first national semifinal."
Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News: "Anthony Davis is the most dominant player in the tournament in the past 20 years."
Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated: "If this were little league, Anthony Davis would be the kid the other teams' parents complain is too good for his age group."
ESPN's Chad Ford: "Everyone is asking for Anthony Davis comps. Marcus Camby meets Kevin Garnett most common. But one GM insists he's Tim Duncan 2.0."
Dick Jerardi of The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis appeared to be two or three people, blocking layups and three-pointers, scoring on a ridiculous dunk early, an absurd lob dunk late, a left-handed jump hook that came off an instructional tape, and on one possession actually leading a fast break. Davis (18 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks) missed one shot. He is winning all the national player of the year awards. This was a player of the decade performance."
The Cecil Whig (Elkton, Maryland) in its Final Four preview: "(Kentucky) will win the title if ... Anthony Davis continues to dictate the game defensively, and the rest of the Wildcats' NBA talent plays unselfish offensively – which has resulted in alley-oops and wide open jump shots all season long. UK has the best team in the country this year; but the two most difficult tests of the season remain before Big Blue Nation can celebrate."
The Wichita Eagle: "In the storied history of Kentucky basketball, no player had ever been considered the nation's best for a season. Until now."
Anthony Davis quotes
Davis on his high school: "It had a great academic program, that's why I went there. I didn't go there for basketball. The academic program was great. They have a 95-percent rate of kids graduating and going to college, so my dream was always to go to college, so I decided to go there."
Davis on playing for a high school that didn't have a basketball court: "I found it weird at first ... what school doesn't have a gym? In the fire-escape plan, it said 'basement court' on it, so that didn't make sense ... but we had to work with what we had."