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Devin Davis as Yoda?
Did we really see that?
You be the judge.
Flash back to Friday night at Indianapolis Heritage Christian High School. Davis, the Indiana junior All-Star and Indiana University commitment from the Class of 2013, had played to his nationally regarded basketball reputation. He had scored (24 points), rebounded (15) and run the court with Cody Zeller relentlessness.
The buzzer sounded, the game ended and Davis limped toward the locker room like a middle aged weekend warrior who had played one too many rec league games. It was reminiscent of the Stars Wars scene -- have you noticed how much of life ties in to Star Wars? Wait!. Don't answer that! -- where a digital Yoda, freed from his Muppet-like existence thanks to improved technology, hobbles toward a confrontation with a bad guy, whirls and twirls in light saber battle brilliance, then hobbles back after it's over.
“My knees are a little sore,” Davis said.
We can relate, but without the Big Ten-caliber potential and youth.
Anyway, Davis' performance impressed fellow Junior All-Star and IU committed player Collin Hartman. The two have played with and against each other for years. Both play for the Eric Gordon All-Stars travel ball team. Davis plays for Indianapolis Warren Central. Hartman stars for rival Indianapolis Cathedral.
“Devin is an animal,” Hartman said. “When he gets in the zone, get out of the way.”
Hartman knows all about that from their high school encounters.
“It is fun. We do guard each other. We do know each other's game. Sometimes we don't score a lot because of that. It's a great battle. It always is.”
As for who wins those battles …
“Devin might not like this, but we're 3-0 against Warren,” Hartman said. “We talk about it. We joke about it. He says they'll have a strong squad next year. I can't wait. I'll try to get that fourth win.
“We seem to sell out Cathedral when we play each other there. This year it will be at Warren so, we'll see how it goes.”
The 6-6, 185-pound Davis is rated as the nation's No.16 small forward, No. 107 overall in the Class of 2013 by Rivals.com, a national Internet recruiting service. He is one of four committed players in the class. The 6-6, 185-pound Hartman is another along with power forwad Luke Fischer and shooting guard Stanford Robinson.
Davis took an unofficial visit to IU last week. He participated in an open gym with current Hoosiers. He said he used that time to get to know his future teammates better as well as showing that, yes, he has game.
“Once you start playing, you want to get a feel for the court and the guys you're playing with,” he said. “Then, once everybody starts scoring, it gets real competitive. I don't want to let my man score. If he does, the other guys start looking at you like you can't play defense.”
Given the defensive emphasis Tom Crean places in general, next season in particular, you don't want to give that impression.
Davis said he has plenty to work on in the next year until officially joining the IU program.
“It's mostly my jump shot, ball-handling and every aspect of the game,” he said. “There is always somebody better than you, so I just try to improve at everything.”
The All-Star experience, as well as what Davis will face during the hectic July travel ball period, comes without the pressure of trying to impress college coaches. His IU commitment took care of that.
“Even when I wasn't committed,” he said, “I wasn't trying to impress coaches, I just tried to play hard and do my best. That's what I still try to do. Now, it's more like trying to play hard for the team and to win.”
The team concept is a constant theme for Davis.
“I try to do anything I can for the team. Everything comes to me once I start playing hard and get going.”
In two Junior All-Star games this past weekend -- Friday night's win at Heritage Christian, Saturday night's loss at North Oldham High School in Kentucky -- Davis dominated. He averaged 18.5 points and 14.0 rebounds. The rebounding total was especially impressive.
“Rebounding is all mental,” he said. “I try not to let anybody box me out or out-hustle me. Once I see the ball go up, just try to get the rebound.”
It sounds easy. It's not. Neither is preparing for a big high school senior season and an even bigger Indiana opportunity.
Davis doesn't need Yoda to tell him that.