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By LARRY VAUGHT
Anthony Davis has had one of the best seasons ever by any University of Kentucky basketball player. He leads the nation in blocked shots â€” and has set both the UK and Southeastern Conference single-season records â€” and has already won numerous player of the year awards as well as first-team All-American honors by the Associated Press.
He leads the team in rebounding (10 per game) and steals (50) as well as scoring (14.2 points per game).â€ˆHeâ€™s shooting 63 percent from the field going into Saturdayâ€™s Final Four game in New Orleans against Louisville.
His father, Anthony Davis Sr., thought his son could make an impact at Kentucky and will be in New Orleans with his wife and other family members to see if his son can complete Kentuckyâ€™s national title quest â€” as well as to see him receiver the Adolph Rupp Award as the nationâ€™s best player.
Anthony Davis Sr. offered these insights on his son.
Question: Have you been surprised at all by your sonâ€™s superb freshman season?
Davis: â€œWell, we knew he could play at this level, but I think he kind of shocked us as the games have progressed at how he is playing. We knew he would do well, but not this well. It is just kind of shocking to us.â€
Question: Does this help validate your decision to keep your son at the high school you did when you were being encouraged by many to transfer him to a school with a better overall basketball program?
Davis: â€œWe really emphasize on grades, so we kept him in the school he was at because it has great academics. We knew that as parents, that his game would develop to another level in college. We kept him where he was for his grades.â€
Question: Did the self-discipline and other values the school stressed help mold your son into the person he is today?
Davis: â€œI think it did help. They take pride in having a disciplined life and I think he brought that here with him. He has just taken it to the next level here, and it has been great.â€
Question: Is it hard to think back that three years ago he was a 6-3 guard and now heâ€™s a 6-11 center/forward destined to be in the NBA soon and likely the No. 1 draft pick if he opts to leave Kentucky?
Davis: â€œIt has been something. Just to see him out here is special. A lot of people said he was a skinny guy that could not hold his own in the post. To see him come out here and do what he is doing and post up with the big guys after the way he was critiqued is real good for him. I think he has shocked the world with what he is doing and we are real happy with what heâ€™s doing.â€
Question: How does your son and your family avoid ever talking about the NBA knowing what might lie ahead?
Davis: â€œWhat we do is just take it game by game. I always tell him you donâ€™t ever go to the next level. You always think about the game ahead of you. He is really just thinking about the next game.â€ˆOnce we get the opportunity to sit down with coach Cal and figure out what the next strategy is at the NBA level, we will do that as a family and figure out what is going on next.â€
Question: Is that a similar philosophy to high school when after he signed with UKâ€ˆhe never lost focus of his high school season and teammates?
Davis: â€œAll he does is just think about the next game and has always been like that. He is not thinking above or beyond or anything else. Itâ€™s just trying to get better and move on to the next game and try to win. Thatâ€™s what he is doing here now.â€
Question: Are your prouder of the player he is or the person he is off the court?
Davis: â€œI think both. He is a great kid on and off the court. I like the way he handles himself on the court. He has been taking a couple of bruises on the court, but he has been handling it pretty well. We just really enjoy watching him play.â€
Question: What would winning a national championship mean to him?
Davis: â€œI think that would be his ultimate goal. Playing in high school, a lot of juggernauts in Chicago were winning championships and his team was not that caliber. So come to here and win a championship, I think that would be his ultimate goal. Playing with the great players and just going out there having fun every day and enjoying himself, winning a championship would be everything he wanted.â€
Question: How much have your friends back home enjoyed your sonâ€™s play this season?
Davis: â€œI think they have really enjoyed it. Everybody is on the Anthony Davis bandwagon, so it is a real plus.â€
Question: How proud are you that his success has been a big pride boost for his high school?
Davis: â€œWe always said that if he goes on to the next level and excels, we hope the kids coming into Perspectives just see his story coming from an unknown to No. 1 player in the country. We hope young kids can grasp that and take it and use as motivation for them.â€ˆIt is a big plus for all of us.â€
Question: Was there ever a time in his life he gave you problems and you had to discipline him?
Davis: â€œNo. Not one time. He is a great kid. I am blessed. I am truly blessed with the way he is. We take pride in being with our kids and teaching them the right things because you always want to be treated as an equal. You never want to think you are better than anybody. Things can happen bad for you or whatever. But as long as you treat people as equal, good things come to you.â€