Editor’s Commentary: Anthony Davis MVP of the NCAA Title Game?


The article’s title has already made the blood of the Kentucky faithful begin to boil without regard for the content within. The term “hater” followed by “jealous” and perhaps a few other less than tasteful words have been blurted out or at the very minimum thought by die hard supporters of the Wildcats and Anthony Davis.

When did Kentucky’s program, the coaching staff, or any of their players become above reproach by college basketball fans that do not live and die by the wins and losses of the Wildcats?

The question deserves to be debated in an open forum; did Anthony Davis deserve the MVP of the NCAA Title Game?

In a word: No.

A curious sport’s mind wonders if the honor bestowed upon Davis after Monday night’s NCAA Championship Game was another nod toward the tremendous all-around season he had rather than the in-game performance that was turned in by the Naismith National Player of the Year winner.

To calm the raging storms that are rising within Wildcat Nation, I’m not a hater of Davis or the Kentucky program. Davis is a tremendous player and one of the most impressive college basketball players to play the game since Kevin Durant was a one-and-done at University of Texas.

At the ripe age of 19, Davis’ ability is off the charts at this point in his young career. He has the ability to control the game on the college level on both ends of the floor, he can step out around 20 feet to hit the outside shot, and he has moves in the post with both hands. Few NBA players have taken the time to work in practice to possess this lost big man skill.

The awards and accolades given to Davis speak volumes on their own merits: 2012 Consensus First Team All-American, Freshman Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year Award, Associated Press Player of the Year, Sporting News Player of the Year, and the John Wooden Award winner.

Davis earned a spot among the all-time college greats when he set a single season blocks record for the SEC. Even more impressive he blocked more shots than any other NCAA player before him, freshman or otherwise.

The NBA prospects for Davis appears to be somewhere between Dallas Mavericks’ Future Hall of Fame forward Dirk Nowitzki and San Antonio Spurs’ Future Hall of Fame center/power forward Tim Duncan.

Davis already bangs harder down low and better than Dirk. He’s also a better defender and rebounder. The similarities are both can handle the ball well in space for players their size which allows them to create space against defenders. Davis could develop an outside shot similar to the former league MVP if his future NBA team allows him to do so, which is doubtful.

More than likely Davis will be the next Tim Duncan clone but with more athletic ability. In case Duncan’s resume has slipped your mind he’s a four-time NBA Champion, three-time NBA Finals MVP, and a two-time league MVP. Sadly Duncan may be the last great NBA player to have played through his senior season but that is another story.

Perhaps the most impressive feat Davis’, the former high school player of the year (ESPN and Scout.com), has achieved is maintaining his hand eye coordination after being 6’2” two years ago and growing to his present height of 6’10”.

Anyone that has watched a junior high or high school basketball game has seen a kid run out on the court that is bigger than his peers. Most parents and coaches for the opposing team will break a cold sweat when they see the player that is six inches taller than everyone else. The fear is he will dominate.

That fear dissipates once said player catches a pass… or more than likely does not catch a pass. The tall but unlucky players have not grown into their bodies. The hand eye coordination is a second or two behind and nine times out of ten they look like they are more apt to trip over their own two feet than dominate on the court. This is not the case with Davis.

Davis’ height and athleticism are a blessing his basketball skills are a result of hard work.

None of the above attributes, time in the gym, past accolades or future enshrinements to one Hall of Fame or the other add up to Davis being the MVP of Monday’s NCAA Championship Game.

Regardless of how badly CBS announcer Clark Kellogg wanted Davis to win the award, and he started stating his case before halftime, Davis’ stat line is hardly that of a MVP.

Anthony Davis’ NCAA Championship Game Statistics worth noting:

Field Goals: 1-10

Total Points: 6

What will future generations think about college basketball in 2012 after seeing a player was awarded MVP after a 1-10 performance?

Advocates for Davis will immediately point out that points are a “sexy” stat and highly overrated. Maybe, but the team with the higher point total wins the game making the stat not only sexy but also important.

More importantly four Kentucky players outscored Davis while three Kansas players put up more than six points.

Kentucky Wildcat fans will cite Davis’ six blocked shots and how he controlled the defensive end of the court.

Kansascenter Jeff  Withey finished the game with four blocks. Not a huge discrepancy in total blocks. And let’s be honest neither team had difficulty getting to the rim. There were more highlight dunks in this game than in the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk Competition.

Both teams shot poorly from the floor including missed dunks and alley-oops. Kansas was 22-62 for a .355 average and Kentucky was 23-56 for a shooting percentage of .411. The defensive intensity, nervousness of the players, or just plain poor shooting was problematic for both teams.

Another stat fans will throw out there is Davis’ 16 rebounds… Not a game high for rebounds. That honor goes to Kansas forward Thomas Robinson with 17.

In fairness to Davis he did dish five assist, a game high, with three turnovers, a team high, and came up with three steals.

Davis’ performance was somewhat reminiscent of Jokim Noah’s MVP performance for Florida in 2006. Noah had six blocks, nine rebounds, but added 16 points towards the Gators winning total of 73 points in a blowout win over UCLA. The difference being Noah led his team in each category.

So who deserves the 2012 NCAA Championship Game MVP? How about Thomas Robinson?

Robinson led all players in total rebounds (18), offensive rebounds (5), and was the third leading scorer in the game with 18 points. He was also the only player that posted a double-double in Monday’s game.

How can we give the MVP to a guy on the losing team? With him or without the Jayhawks still lost. Fair enough.

How about Doron Lamb? Lamb led all scores with 22 points, racking up an impressive shooting stat line going 7-12 from the floor including 3-6 from behind the arc, and 5-6 from the free throw line. Lamb’s assist to turnover ratio was 3:1; all “sexy” numbers.

The thought of giving the MVP to someone else other than Davis may seem preposterous to some but I know I’m not the only, hopefully, non-bias college basketball fan to feel this way. Even Yahoo Sports gave Lamb Kentucky’s “Top Performer” for the championship game.

Who do you think deserved to be named MVP of the 2012 NCAA Championship Game?