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The Butler Did It: Davis carves niche at Hall

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What's the biggest transition from high school to Division I college ball?"It's the urgency of the game," Davis said, standing outside the Seton Hall locker room after the Pirates' loss at Providence Saturday night. "You've got to play harder, quicker every second of the game. Sometimes in high school you could slack off here and there, but in college you just can't."When we last left Davis, his senior season at Christ the King came to a controversial end, as he sat suspended for the CHSAA state playoffs after his uncle allegedly punched an official following the Royals' CHSAA AA intersectional loss to Rice.He figured he'd put that behind him, leave the city altogether and play his college ball at North Carolina State. But Herb Sendek left the Wolfpack and Davis was let out of his scholarship.Bobby Gonzalez was just let out of his contract at Manhattan College and accepted the vacant coaching job at Seton Hall. Soon, Davis found himself in South Orange as well, trading in the chance to play in the ACC for the Big East, to play for Gonzalez.The 6-foot-3 Davis figured he'd pick up where he left off at Christ the King, where he won games for the Royals with his deadly perimeter shooting. He set the school record with eight three-pointers in a game, scoring 28 points in a win over Cardozo.But it hasn't happened that way in college. He's been brought along slowly by Gonzalez. Davis had one breakout game, scoring a game-high 27 points on 8-of-10 shooting in a 94-85 win over Penn Dec. 23, and has one start. But he's carved out a niche early on for Gonzalez as a spark plug off the bench. Davis is usually the first substitute, as was the case in the last two games.Against Rutgers Jan. 3, he had seven points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal in 14 minutes off the bench. And just about all of it, including a layup at the end of the half, came when Rutgers made a run."He might be up and down a little bit with his offense, but he's really becoming a tough kid, he's playing hard and he's really an important guy for us," Gonzalez said. "I thought he was one of the quiet assassins in the game tonight."Three nights later, at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Davis was one of the few bright spots for the Pirates in a 91-69 loss to the Friars, with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals off the bench.Through 14 games, Davis is averaging 7.7 points and 3.6 assists per game, shooting 44.7 percent from the field. If not for point guard extraordinaire Eugene Harvey, Davis would be the most talked about freshman at Seton Hall.But Davis doesn't care about that. All the soft-spoken Deer Park, L.I., resident wants to do is play. And if he continues to impress, that shouldn't be a problem at all."I just want to help the team anyway I could," Davis said. "As a basketball player, you just want to be on the court. If I have to get rebounds, get steals, hustle my brains out, that's what I'll do to stay on the court."Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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