Hard work elevated Davidson’s game

Wabash College sophomore Jack Davidson rattled the college basketball world this season. Ranked 10th in the nation in Division III with 25.1 points per game, and broke the record for most consecutive free throws made across all-divisions in NCAA with 95. After leading Wabash to 21 wins, the postseason accolades kept pouring in. First North Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year, then NABC Great Lakes Player of the Year, and finally NABC All-America First Team. Davidson has always had confidence in himself — but this — no one saw coming. “There’s no way that you could have projected first-team All-American and 25 points a game, or someone else would have scholarshipped him,” Wabash coach Kyle Brummett said. And Brummett remembers the first time he saw Davidson play as a sophomore in high school. “Once the high school season started I went and watched Hamilton Southeastern play Avon when I was recruiting Logan White,” he said. “And the fourth quarter rolls around and the game had gotten lopsided and they had subbed guys in. And there’s this guy out there that’s like 5-3, and by that time I’m not really watching Logan White anymore and the game is kind of in hand, and I’m sitting there waiting for the game to be over and there’s this little guy out there and he’s got the ball on a string, and he’s competitive and aggressive. Typically you put somebody in the game that’s probably just a JV player or not good enough to play in the regular minutes, and he’s a little timid, but not this guy. And that guy was Jack Davidson.” In high school, Davidson was overshadowed by current Ball State player Zach Gunn, and other high-profile players, but he always believed in himself. “I always knew I could shoot the ball,” he said. It was just a matter of improving other aspects of my game.” Upon graduating from Hamilton Southeastern, Davidson’s college choices were down to Wabash, DePauw and University of Indianapolis, and that decision ended up being an easy one. “A lot was the academic side of it,” he said. “I wanted to go to a great school and get a great education, and the opportunity to play right away. It gave me the opportunity to excel on and off the court.” With the promise from Brummett to compete for a starting spot as a freshman, Davidson found himself as the starting point guard in the season opener against No. 8 University of Washington — St. Louis. It only took that first game for him to realize he could do something special at Wabash. “I had a really good first game, and played really well and that just gave me the confidence to keep improving,” he said. As a freshman, Davidson averaged 18.2 points per game, and was named freshman of the year in the NCAC. Brummett’s first glance of his skill during high school helped get Davidson to Wabash — but his work ethic landed him and the Little Giants in a whole other ballpark this past season. “I think how he got here,” Brummett said. “His work ethic is unbelievable, and one of the real interesting things about him being here at Wabash is he craves being able to work. He does his best in everything that I know he puts his hands on. It’s unique to have a guy that wants to put as much time in it as he does, and it’s a pretty special thing to coach.” Davidson believes the work he put in to enhance his ability to get to the rim helped lead to his uptick in scoring. “Really what has elevated my scoring the most has been the ability to get to the rim,” he said. “It makes it much easier because I can to shoot the three and they have to come out and guard me and it opens up driving lanes.” Statistically, Davidson shot 43.4-perecent from 3-point territory, 93.1-percent from the free throw line, and just a tick under 50-percent from 2-point range this season. That included 202-of-217 from the free throw line, a rhythm he likes to keep simple. “First things first, just imagine that you’re going to make the shot, and just have the confidence that you’re going to make it every single time,” he said. “So I know every time I go up there that I think it’s going in, and I just take two dribbles and shoot it to keep it simple.” Winning remains the most important thing for Davidson and Wabash heading into next season, and he knows if he keeps putting in the work, the results will follow. “It’s all about winning,” he said. “The fact that we went from 12 to 21 wins was the biggest thing for me. I just work every single day to improve my game and I know that it’s going to lead to improvements on the court.” How did Jack Davidson end up at Wabash? A coach with a sense of picking out detail saw something he liked, and a player with an eagerness to get better matched up. A perfect combination.

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