Anthony Davis: Shot-Blocking Machine

Anthony Davis has been described as a one-man wrecking crew for his shot-blocking ability. It’s not just another cliché with the 6’10” Kentucky freshman. Through yesterday’s games, Davis’ 138 blocks were more than 303 teams. There are 32 conferences in NCAA Division I basketball (345 teams), and if Davis alone was a team, he would lead 14 conferences—including the Pac-12 and WCC—in blocked shots.

Coaches often say “there’s no ‘I’ in ‘TEAM,’” but which other individuals outperform entire schools? Iona’s Scott Machado is the country’s assist leader, averaging 10.1 per game. His 302 assists this season exceed 22 teams, including BCS-conference schools USC, Utah, and Maryland. Fittingly, Machado out-assisted Maryland, 15-9, in a November match-up.

Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins, the nation’s most prolific three-point shooter, has made more treys (109) than six schools. This is particularly embarrassing for Fairleigh Dickinson, since their shooters have attempted 147 more threes than Jenkins and still haven’t made as many.

The men are not alone in achieving such feats. Baylor’s Brittney Griner, 6’8” and extremely athletic, is on pace to become the all-time Division I leader in blocked shots. Her 155 rejections this season are more than all but 14 teams.

Sometimes a player’s hyper-production is harmful. Take Eastern Washington’s starting forward Laron Griffin. The 6’8” 220-pound senior has fouled out of 13 of his team’s 28 games this season. According to StatSheet.com, there are 187 schools that have not had 13 foul-outs. Griffin started the season with three straight disqualifications and, after hitting a midseason wall, fouled out of six straight contests in February.

Anthony Davis (23) averages 4.8 blocks per game. (Credit: UK Athletics)

It’s a safe bet that Griner and Davis will out-block most college teams for the rest of the season. The more interesting race is between Davis and the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. Through the All Star break, Davis had more blocks than Detroit despite the Pistons having played more games (35 to Kentucky’s 29) and sporting a roster composed entirely of, you know, NBA players.

Detroit had an eight-block outburst last night to push its total to 145. Kentucky plays Georgia tonight. The ball is in your court, Mr. Davis. Feel free to swat it.

2 thoughts on “Anthony Davis: Shot-Blocking Machine”

  1. Anthony Davis is incredible. He’s blocking a ridiculous number of shots and has only fouled out once. In the NCAA tournament, it will be interesting to see if he goes head to head with other big men that are able get him into foul trouble. Do you think his game will translate to the NBA? Or, will his height and length be neutralized?

    1. Good point on foul trouble. As you noted, he’s only fouled out once (his 4th collegiate game) and has only picked up 4 fouls twice (and not since early December, though one of those instances was in UK’s only loss, to Indiana). Davis has shown he is adept at avoiding fouls, but teams would still be wise to attack him as that is still their best shot at winning.

      As for his pro aspirations, he is being projected as the consensus #1 pick and I have no reason to think he won’t be worthy of the selection. He is one of those kids who was a “normal” height for much of his life, and then shot up seemingly overnight — I think I remember reading he was just 6’1″ as a HS sophomore. He honed his ball-handling as shooting skills when he was a guard, and now he still has some of those skills in a center’s body. Once he fills out some more I imagine he will be even more dangerous in the post.

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