Coming off another successful campaign where the Texan basketball program reached the Elite Eight for the second straight season, the team has undergone a youth movement and the player leading the charge in the early goings this season is redshirt freshman Anthony Davis.
Davis, a four-year letterman at Lewisville High School, is only three games into his college basketball career, but is quickly making a name for himself.
Having sat out all of the 2015-16 season with a redshirt, Davis is not only playing, but starting the first three games of the season has helped propel his play.
“Last year was tough for me. Coming out of high school I was expecting to play and starting off this season it was a bit rough since I hadn’t played a competitive game in so long,” Davis said. “I had to get to used to the speed, but in the game against Colorado Springs I finally calmed down and did what my coaches told me to do and I found my feet I think.”
Now having played at the collegiate level, Davis is motivated more than ever to help continue the Tarleton tradition of winning and going on deep postseason runs. Last year’s Elite Eight team showed him how to prepare and also how to win. Starting a career off with those two keys to success is a jumpstart for any player.
“It was bad last year, the team was so good and I would have loved to have played with them, it hurt that I couldn’t,” he said. “Coming in this season and missing out on that experience is hard, but I learned a lot from those guys and I’m focused on the present and seeing just how far that we can take this team.”
Also redshirting last season was four of Davis’ teammates, including Kealon Claiborne, Ivan Tevis, Lance Ewell and Josh Hawley. Sitting out for the year as a group is something that’s created a bond among the players.
“It’s great just being able to finally play. I love all of those guys to death, we went through so much last year. Scout team is no joke, we did all the dirty work and got the other guys ready in practice. Going into a Coach Reisman practice is tough no matter what, but it’s something else going in knowing you have three hours of straight defense,” Davis said.
While he’s only three games into his collegiate career, Tarleton fans are already whispering their excitement of having Davis for the next four seasons following his early performances.
Currently Davis has played the fifth most minutes on the team with 69 and is averaging 23 minutes per game, a big indicator of what Reisman sees in the forward as the team as a whole has nine players who are averaging 10-plus minutes per game.
In addition to his time on the court, Davis is shooting a hot 52 percent from the field, while averaging nine points per game, the fourth highest on the squad.
“Playing for Coach Reisman is awesome. He’s a legend in college basketball,” said Davis. “He’s on you 24/7, but he only does that for the good. It’s great to play for a man that you know will push you every day. He told me since my recruitment that playing for him wouldn’t be easy and I found out he was right real quick. But he’s coached one of the best defensive players in the history of the game (Dennis Rodman) and that’s what aspire to. I hope to reach that level.”
While experience on the team isn’t vast, expectations are high as ever with this year's Tarleton squad. Another deep run is what fans hope for, but a championship is what Davis and his teammates crave.
“Everyone wants to win a championship, that’s a given. But we’re a young team and I know everyone is doubting us,” Davis said. “We want to prove everyone wrong. Being young doesn’t matter and we have plenty of talent. Once we get our chemistry flowing I don’t think there’s anyone in the Lone Star Conference who can hang with us. We all want to hang up another banner and get a ring this year.”
Anthony Davis and the rest of the Texans will continue their season Thursday when they host Midwestern State at 7:30 p.m.