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Josh Davis: The “Glue Guy” Sidney Desperately Needed To Keep

February 15, 2011

As State sleepwalks through another disappointing season, I can't help but think about a kid no longer on the roster: Josh Davis.

Davis was a local product, from nearby Athens Drive High, offered a scholarship after Lowe missed out on some higher-profile targets (namely, John Wall). Davis grew up an admitted State fan whose dream was to suit up for the 'Pack. He was understandably thrilled when given the opportunity to join the team.

He played like it, too. In his only season at State, Josh played every one of his sparse minutes on the court like his last. He attacked the glass with ferocity and exuded the kind of energy you hope to see from every one of his teammates.

But when the 2010 recruiting class was announced, featuring mega-recruiting-star CJ Leslie, the writing for Davis was on the wall and he elected to transfer.

Months later—and with the clarity retrospection affords—I feel strongly his transfer dealt a devastating blow to this team's constitution and its "heart."

Davis never put gaudy stats on the board. He left State with a points-per-game average of just 2.6. He averaged just 10.4 minutes per game of action in 31 appearances.

But his absence is felt mightily.  He was what this year's team needs most of all—someone with a non-stop motor; someone his highly talented teammates can look to as an example of how to play the game. He wasn't as physically gifted as CJ Leslie, as quick as Ryan Harrow or as smooth as Lorenzo Brown, but Davis knew how to play within himself and out-hustled opposing players to the ball better than anyone during in the Lowe era.

I have to believe Davis' presence would've elevated the play of CJ Leslie—if not the entire team—if used effectively by the coaching staff. By "effectively," I mean using Davis to replace Leslie whenever CJ jacks up a ridiculous contested three pointer early in the shot clock. Have Leslie watch Davis go to work within the constructs of the system Lowe is trying to implement to show how mere hard work and hustle can result in good things happening for Davis and his teammates out on the floor.

That's what I took away from Davis' time at State. He just had a knack for making good things happen. Loose balls, rebounds, steals, deflections…little things that don't show up prominently on a stat sheet but make a cumulative impact in the course of a game.

I wrote this in the comment section over at friend-of-the-program BackingThePack.com after Davis' transfer was announced, and I think it rings true now more than ever:

I feel like this team is losing its heart

Josh is the guy that seemed to push the others to their fullest potential. I hate losing a guy like that from our locker room.

Doesn't this 2011 team feel like a squad without a heart? Especially in the biggest games of the year, the Duke and Carolina games? I have to believe Josh would've made at least some kind of positive impact in those embarrassing losses. Probably not to the extent of changing the ultimate outcome of the games, but I doubt State would've looked like the cold pools of vomit we saw spewed about the floors of Cameron Indoor and the Dean E. Smith Center.

Talent is important, yes. No team can win big without it. I can certainly understand why Josh felt like his scarce minutes were going to be even more scarce this season and thus why he decided to leave.

But there's a lot to be said for the "glue guys" that do the little things for a team over the course of the year, and I think allowing Davis to walk, not seeing the value a guy like Davis brought to this team, was another critical failing by the coaching staff this season.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. GoalieLax permalink
    February 15, 2011 8:10 pm

    2nd time in 5 seasons the team has had – demonstratively – no heart

  2. Scott permalink
    February 17, 2011 8:41 pm

    I think CJ Williams can be that guy. he gives that kind of effort when he’s in there.

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