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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana basketball fans are going to have mixed feelings later this month when they watch former Hoosier All-American Victor Oladipo walk across a stage in Brooklyn and shake NBA commissioner David Stern's hand just minutes after the 2013 NBA Draft gets underway.
On one hand, they feel great that Hoosier coach Tom Crean has restored the program to a place where he is capable of luring some of the most talented players in the country. But on the other hand, how can Crean possibly replace Oladipo's talent next season?
Better yet, who could even come close to filling such a role?
Well, Devin Davis is a pretty good start.
“That's what people have said,” Davis said of trying to fill Oladipo's role. “But I'm going to try and make a name for myself and try to work as hard as I can.”
Working hard is exactly what Davis did on Saturday, as he led the 2013 Indiana All-Star squad to an 84-77 victory over Kentucky in front of 6,209 fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The win was the 10th straight for the Hoosier boys, and 17th in the past 18 contests.
Davis was relentless and effective all over the court. At various times, he was asked to defend guards, forwards and even in the post. He was asked to do so because he was the most athletic player – on a team filled with athleticism - that Indiana had available on its roster.
At various times, he scored facing the basket, driving to the basket and even from above the basket.
He handled the ball, he shot the ball, and he rebounded the ball, and finished with a team-best 19 points and game-high 11 rebounds.
For that effort, he was named as the game's Most Valuable Player.
“I'm hungry,” Davis said. “It's just in my nature to go out and play as hard as I can.”
The 6-foot-7 forward, er, guard, well, basketball player, plans on having an open mind when he gets to Bloomington later this month in regards to where on the court he'll best fit, but he definitely plans on bringing with him a singular focus when it comes to carrying out the coaching instructions.
“I'm going to do whatever coach Crean needs me to do,” Davis said.
Davis was mind-numbing to Kentucky players trying to score the ball, and recently, he even irritated the best that Indiana has to offer.
During the Hoosiers' Reunion All-Star Classic last week in Knightstown, Indiana Mr. Basketball Zak Irvin (a Michigan recruit) tried repeatedly to win the game in the final minutes by taking Davis off of the dribble. He continually failed to do so.
“I've developed a hybrid defensive presence,” Davis said. “I can guard the one (position) through five, but probably one through four at the college level.”
A night after Indiana crushed Kentucky by a series record 54 points, the southern rivals made Saturday's game interesting and held on until the final minutes. With just over three minutes remaining, Kentucky had trimmed its deficit to 71-68. However, Davis put a spin move on University of Kentucky recruit Derek Willis that had to make Wildcat coach John Calipari cringe, and followed that up with a spectacular dunk and Kentucky never seriously threatened again.
“Since I don't really score the ball that much,” Davis said humbly, if not entirely accurately, “I'll just do anything that I can to help the team win.”
Zak Irvin 16, Bryson Scott 14, Devin Davis 19, Collin Hartman 8, Demetrius Jackson 4, Michael Volovic 0, Mike Crawford 3, V.J. Beachem 9, Clay Yeo 2, Basil Smotherman 0, Blake Simmons 5, Michael Schlotman 0, Darius Latham 4.
Dominique Hawkins 33, Ken-Jah Bosley 14, Rusty Troutman 6, Jack Whitman 0, Derek Willis 12, Tyler Jones 0, Devonte Grundy 5, Darryl Hicks 0, Stuart Jackson 2, Omar Prewitt 5.
Ally Lehman 5, Bridget Perry 23, Taya Reimer 19, Dakota Weatherford 5, Taylor Lutz 1, Celeste Edwards 0, Ariana Simmons 14, Andrijana Cvitkovic 2, Caitlyn Tolen 4, Jenn Anderson 8, Katie Curtis 1, Jill Morrison 7, Rhagen Smith 11.
Makayla Epps 23, Larryn Brooks 19, China Dow 17, Ashton Feldhaus 0, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers 5, Jessica Hardin 3, Whitney Hartlage 2, Michaela Hunter 2, Taylor Porter 13, Logan Powell 0, Beth Rates 2.