NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A few weeks ago, Kentucky coach John Calipari asked his players how they helped the team when they weren't scoring.
On Monday, Anthony Davis shared his answer with the entire country. The player of the year was sublime in a 67-59 victory over Kansas that gave the Wildcats their eighth national title.
Ignore the 1-for-10 scoring line, his ugliest of the season. Davis tied Joakim Noah's individual record for blocks in the NCAA championship game with six, grabbed 16 rebounds, had five assists and three steals.
If this was the last college game for the freshman, widely expected to be the No. 1 pick in this summer's NBA draft, it was a heck of a way to go out.
“He's terrific,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “He just impacts the game so much with his length, and he's so quick. … He is an unbelievable factor on both ends.”
As the final seconds ticked down, cheers of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” echoed throughout the arena. Sure enough, to the surprise of no one, Davis was selected the Most Outstanding Player.
“It's a great way to go out,” Davis said. “(But) like I said before, I'm going to wait until April 29th and decide what I'm going to do then, sit down with my coach and my family and see what is the best decision for me.”
Davis has loomed large all season and not simply because he's 6-foot-10 with a wingspan of a Piper Cub. A guard until a growth spurt, he still has that sweet shot and sixth sense of a smaller player. Despite playing at a Chicago high school that didn't even have its own gym, Davis seems born for the big stage and bright lights. The 19-year-old plays with the poise and composure of someone a decade older, and seems completely devoid of any ego.
Photo: Anthony Davis