3.06.2007

Blast From The Past

Kendrick Davis was Stan Heath’s first recruit as the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Davis was not heavily recruited, but he was a capable scorer who had a couple of big games and, along with Jonathan Modica and Eric Ferguson, was one of the three freshmen who accounted for the bulk of the Razorback offense during the 2002-2003 season.

In 2003-2004, Stan Heath made the woeful decision that Ferguson would develop into a useful SEC player (hindsight is 20/20; at one point I thought E-Fergie would be good too). That, along with the arrival of big-time recruits Ronnie Brewer and Olu Famutimi, led to a drastic reduction in Davis’ minutes and consequently, in his point production (10.3 to 5.4).

Davis saw the handwriting on the wall, and transferred after the 2003-2004 season to North Texas, where he had to sit out a season. Davis has been a star for the Mean Green, averaging 16.8 points per game last season, and 13.8 per game this year despite battling through a hand injury early in the season.

Tonight, North Texas beat Arkansas State 83-75 in the finals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, giving the Mean Green an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, their first since 1988.

I was never a huge fan of Kendrick Davis when he played for Arkansas. He was pretty one-dimensional, and even as a scorer, was fairly inconsistent. But he was willing to take a risk and be the first player to sign on to a UA program that was reeling after the stormy departure of Nolan Richardson, and I always thought it wasn’t fair that he was cut out of the picture for other players who were perceived to be better.

Who would’ve thought when Kendrick transferred after the 2003-2004 season that he would end up appearing in the same number of NCAA Tournaments as Brewer and Ferguson, and would win at least as many tournament games?

I guess things worked out pretty fairly after all.

2 comments:

Kenny Simpson 3/7/07, 10:17 AM  

Good for him. The Razorbacks need something to happen to shake things up (perhaps the departure of Heath?), as they are falling off the national radar.

Luke 3/7/07, 10:42 AM  

Kenny,

"Falling off the national radar" is a pretty good description of the current situation at Arkansas, and Heath is getting a lot of heat for that.

That being said, I'm for giving Heath another season. The Hogs lost a lot of production after last season with the departures of Ronnie Brewer, Jonathan Modica and Eric Ferguson, and it has taken a while for the three who have replaced them (Gary Ervin, Patrick Beverley and Sonny Weems) to mesh.

On top of that, I'm not sure why any top caliber coach would want to come to Arkansas right now with all the turmoil surrounding the athletic department.

Give Heath another season; if he can't win with all the talent and experience returning next year (7 seniors?), then we'll know we need to go in another direction.

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