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2013 Player preview: Dee Davis

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Dee Davis played the most minutes of his career last year while Xavier struggled for guard depth. This year there are plenty more guards, and a commensurate drop in available time. How the diminutive point responds could be key to the Musketeers year.

Davis fought valiantly all year.
Davis fought valiantly all year.
Jamie Sabau

Dee Davis divides opinion among Xavier fans. A talented guard who is capable of locking down the most efficient of scorers, Davis sometimes cannot score himself. Seemingly tough and difficult to knock out of a game (see the UC game last year), Davis consistently misses time with niggling injuries. So Dee Davis enters this season, again, as a bit of an enigma. Talented point ready to take the next step, or inconsistent guard who will lose time to newcomers? There's only one way to find out.

Davis' main contributions to the team are defensively and running the game. His defense can be hard to quantify, but he put the locks on Khalif Wyatt last year to the extent that Wyatt took to Twitter to apologize to Temple fans after the game. Davis was also part of backcourt that suffocated Sean Kilpatrick (who?) in the Crosstown Shootout. While Davis' size seems like a disadvantage, he does a tremendous job on defense most of the time. Offensively, Davis put up a line of 8.2/1.7/3.4 and had a season high 22 against Fairleigh Dickinson to go with an arguably more impressive 15 against VCU. Davis also made 73% of his free throws on a team where that effort was probably worthy of a medal.

Unfortunately, Davis' flaws came out more last year as his playing time increased from 11 minutes per game to 28. Most notably, Dee turned the ball over a lot and eventually lost his role as the primary ballhandler. The 3.4 assists per game that Davis managed were mitigated by 2.5 turnovers per contest as well, for an unimpressive 1.3/1 A/TO ratio. Davis also didn't shoot the ball terribly well, putting up a .393/.368/.730 line. While all of those numbers are up from his freshman year, none of them are immediately impressive. Dee also missed three games last year due to the kind of nagging little injuries that seem to trouble him.

Best case scenario: Davis gets some help in the backcourt with the ball-handling responsibilities and his A/TO ratio, and decision making, improve. While Dee isn't a great shooter, he does make a respectable 37% of his three pointers and takes over half of his shots from there. A bit better selection from inside the arc and it's reasonable to assume he becomes a double digit scorer. With the floor spread thanks to Christon and the other Davis, Dee parlays his defense into playing time and his playing time in to a 10/2/4 line.

Worst case scenario: With Brandon Randolph and the rest of the new arrivals taking some time to ease in, Davis has to handle the ball a lot and opposing teams crank up the pressure. Dee, once again, wilts under that pressure and his A/TO drops even closer to the break even line. Once Randolph, Kamall Richards, and Myles Davis are ready, Dee becomes an option only when foul trouble or injuries threaten. After one season as a main cog, Dee becomes a role player again.

Most likely scenario: This is, no doubt, a make or break year for Dee Davis. He no longer has the cushion of having no guard depth behind him to assure that he plays a lot. The team is deep at the guard positions and competition for time will be fierce. Dee probably isn't going to play 28 minutes per game again this year. That said, Dee's defense will be invaluable to this team if it is to make the adjustment to the Big East well. Expect Dee to play something along the lines of 20 minutes a game and to score six or seven points per game in that time. It won't be a starring one, but Davis definitely has a role to play.