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Myles Davis and the birth of the cool

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How the evolving game of Xavier's baldest shooting guard has taken him from last year's forgotten man to the brink of becoming the most important player on the roster.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Good afternoon Xavier fans. I'm sure you've noticed by now, but Myles Davis has grown in leaps and bounds from the player that he was last year. Last season Myles put up a game line of 5.3/1.5/0.9 on .335/.331/.667 shooting. This year he's up to 11.2/2.4/2.2 on .433/.400/.873. He has hit 38 threes already this season compared to a total of 41 last year.

It's not all about gunning for the new Myles though. His field goals attempted profile has changed in a couple of significant ways that hint at the change in approach that has him putting the biscuit in the basket like an all-around scorer rather than just an excellent shooter.

Last year, 77% of Myles's shots were from behind the three-point arc. This year that number is down to 60.5%. Nothing groundbreaking so far; if you've watched Xavier play this season you've noted that Myles isn't just a shooter anymore. It's what he's doing once he gets inside the three-point line that has made the difference.

Last year only 40% of Davis's two-point shots came at the rim; this season that number is all the way up to 55%. His shot chart from last season shows frequent pull-up jumpers from the left elbow and left baseline areas. Considering the comparatively higher volume of his three-point shots that came from the left wing, the picture is clear: Myles got turned back on a lot of drives last season.

This year, his shot chart is almost completely empty on the left side inside the arc. Anyone who saw him bury his head late in the shot clock and Georgetown and get all the way across the lane to score on a difficult scoop shot knows the reason: Myles has not settled for pull-ups when he puts the ball on the deck this year.

For another context, consider this: last year's 161 shots for Myles saw him get to the rim 15 times, scoring 8. This year he has shot 157 times but has already taken 34 shots at the rim and made 21. Myles has made it his business to get to the rim this year, and business has been very good.

There's one other aspect of Davis's development that may have gone overlooked during the course of game action. Of the 41 threes Myles hit last year, 39 were of the catch and shoot variety. Only twice did he convert from deep on a move other than receiving a pass. This year he has hit 38 threes and 8 of them have come off the dribble. This year's version of Myles Davis is still a three-point threat even after he has chosen to - or been forced to - dribble to find space.

It all adds up to defenders having to stick Myles the entire possession and fear both the drive and the jump shot. Davis is drawing 4.6 fouls per 40 minutes (up from 3.0) and getting to and converting from the line at improved rates from last season. As the season has gone on, his confidence and production have grown. He has gone from averaging 9.8 PPG in non-conference to 12.8 in conference to 16.3 in the last six games. Throw in a developing knack for ball distribution (13 assists against 3 TO in the last two games), and the player who is unquestionably the most improved in the conference this year may well belong in the discussion as one of the best guards in the Big East.