BYU basketball: Cougars very proud of what Davies has done with his second chance
Jonathan Hardy, BYU Photo
PROVO — BYU coach Dave Rose describes senior forward Brandon Davies' career as "really unique."
Davies is considered one of the best post players in school history. He has been named to the Wooden Award preseason watch list, and he could end up among the top 10 all-time scoring leaders at BYU (right now, he's No. 41 on that list and ascending rapidly, with 1,068 career points).
Last year, he posted the program's first 20-point/20-rebound game since 1975. He has a penchant for taking charges (31 last year) and he's known for bringing Marriott Center crowds to their feet with his rim-rattling slam dunks.
But as impressive as the 6-foot-9, 235-pounder from Provo is on the court, what impresses Rose — and others around him — even more is the way he dealt with a unique experience more than 18 months ago.
In the early days of March 2011, the Cougars were ranked No. 3 in the national polls and projected to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament when the shocking news broke that Davies had been suspended for violating the school's honor code. The suspension — particularly the timing of it and the circumstances surrounding it — made headlines around the world. For a while, it even overshadowed the "Jimmermania" phenomenon that was taking college basketball by storm at that time.
While Davies became the subject of jokes in some circles, many observers praised BYU for its handling of the situation, for putting principles above winning.
And everyone wondered about Davies' future. Over the years, plenty of Cougar athletes have violated the honor code, but none faced the intense scrutiny and publicity that Davies did.
"With having a top-5 team and all the hype around that group and the situation that happened, it put Brandon in a special spot as far as the limelight is concerned," Rose said. "He had so many different options of how he could have handled it."
Davies could have transferred, declared for the NBA draft, or left to play professionally overseas. He could have allowed himself to be consumed by anger and bitterness. Instead, that summer, Davies voluntarily withdrew from school so he could begin the progress of returning to BYU, and then he worked with the school's dean of students in order to make that happen. When he was re-admitted in the fall of 2011, Davies said simply, "I'm excited to be back at BYU and look forward to the future. I'm grateful for this opportunity."
Rose is eager to watch Davies continue his development this season.
"For me, as his coach, and if you talk to the people on campus that worked through that situation, the progress that he's made and the fact that he's still here at BYU, trying to finish his career, they'd all tell you that we're really proud of him," Rose said.
"It's his senior year. He's earned a leadership role on this team. Hopefully he can continue to progress because one thing about life is, you don't make a couple of really good decisions, then life's over and you don't have any more decisions to make. Life goes on every day. I hope he can continue to do the right things and progress. The way that he's playing right now is an example to all of us."
Going into Davies' second game of his senior season tonight (7 p.m. MST, BYUtv) when the Cougars host Georgia State, his career so far "has been a learning experience," Davies said. "I've definitely grown from it, both on the court and off the court."
BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe is happy with the way Davies has bounced back from that challenge.
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