D.J. Waldie, a onetime critic of Mike Davis, praises his immense influence—and criticizes the way Davis operates on the basketball court
Mike Davis is one of the most popular players in college basketball. Now, he’s being courted by pro teams.
Davis, a 6-foot-9 senior center from Florida who was voted the Naismith National Player of the Year in his final season at Florida, has signed with the Charlotte Hornets. He’s hoping to play next season and help lead the rebuilding process that is Charlotte’s attempt to make that final leap back to championship contention after nearly a decade. Charlotte, in turn, hopes to add the former All-SEC talent to a roster that already contains big men Al Jefferson, Marvin Williams, P.J. Hairston, and Shabazz Napier. The Hornets, like every franchise in the NBA, are trying to figure out what it needs to make it to the championship.
Wendell Jordan, another player who played at Florida, went on to become an assistant to Kevin Porter Jr. at Duke who was once considered a dark-horse candidate to be the next Duke coach. Jordan is now the head coach at Indiana and has been critical of Davis’ decision to leave for the NBA, feeling he got a raw deal in college.
“This seems like a very, very bad move on Davis’ part. He’s not a big enough offensive player to be a legitimate All-Star, and he gives very little help (to a team),” Jordan told Yahoo Sports.
Davis said that he made his decision without consulting anyone.
“I made my decision because I’m a man and I’m not going to be a slave to someone else,” Davis said.
Davis’ decision, to many of his college teammates and coaches, felt like a sacrifice to the basketball world. As they celebrated in Miami during Davis’ final season, his team’s season was over. He was the best player on the court, but he wasn’t the best player of them all.
To his detractors, Davis seemed to be “the best player on the team,” and many wondered if his final campaign might be his last.