Rebels’ Terence Davis sees hard work pay off in sophomore season
OXFORD, Miss. – When Ole Miss opened its Southeastern Conference home slate inside its new arena last season against Alabama, Rebels’ freshman guard Terence Davis watched all the pomp and circumstance from the bench.
He wanted to be on the floor with teammates Stefan Moody and Sebastian Saiz who put up stellar numbers that night for Ole Miss against the Crimson Tide defense. In the long-awaited opening of The Pavilion, in front of a sellout crowd, Moody and Saiz each scored 21 points for the Rebels (8-3, 0-0 SEC) as Ole Miss defeated Alabama, 74-66.
And Davis watched all of the magic from the sideline–something he was not expecting.
Star from Southaven
Davis arrived in Oxford with the mindset of earning time right away in Andy Kennedy’s playing rotation; however, Kennedy didn’t want to force too much pressure, too soon, on his talented freshman. Instead, he allowed his veterans to run the show.
At first, Davis didn’t understand why he wasn’t on the court. The star from Southaven High School had been a four-year starter; as a senior, he averaged 22.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.8 blocks per game. At the conclusion of his senior season, Davis earned All-State honors from The Clarion Ledger and was also named to the ‘Dandy Dozen’ squad.
“Last year was the worst for me. At one point, I wanted to leave. I just wanted to go home,” Davis said, reflecting on his freshman season. “But I stayed with it. Coach (Bill) Armstrong – the guy that recruited me – talked to me. I just let it fuel my fire.
“And I just told myself, ‘This is not going to happen anymore. I’m not going to ride this bench anymore.’ I know I can play in the SEC, so I just let that fuel my fire when I’m working on my craft, getting it right.”
Sophomore guard Terence Davis
Hard work pays off in strong sophomore season
Instead of getting down about his first season, Davis took action to change things. He worked extremely hard in the offseason on everything from perimeter shooting to ball handling to footwork to make sure he would see the results he wanted in his sophomore campaign.
In his freshman season, Davis played in 20 of the team’s 32 games, averaging 1.8 points per game in 6.6 minutes of action. Those days of limited court action are over.
The 6-foot-4, 201-pound Southaven, Mississippi native has become one of Ole Miss’ most reliable scoring threats on a consistent basis. Davis has played in all 11 games – started in four, so far — for the Rebels, and he is third on the team in scoring (13 points per game).
He’s also shooting 46.8 percent from the field, including 32.5 percent from three-point range in an average of 22.4 minutes of action. From the way his guard is performing on the court, Kennedy thinks the sky is the limit for Davis.
“He’s an athlete. We try to get him downhill in everything that he does, be in attack mode,” Kennedy said of Davis, who tied his career-high of 19 points in the Rebels’ win over Bradley Monday night.
“He’s now making 3s at a decent rate. He can make hard plays for us. We need more of those guys. The guys that are capable of doing it, like him, we need to be consistent in that area.”
Andy Kennedy on Terence Davis
Davis: ’I just want to win’
Davis’ work ethic has led to increased playing time and a pivotal role on the Rebels’ team. He’s not concerned about how many points he, himself, scores; he just wants his team to win.
“This season, I just wanted to come in and help my team the best way I can. Get on the offensive glass, defensive glass, rebound. I don’t look to score every night. I just want to win. People don’t realize this, but programs like Duke and Kansas, when they are winning, everybody gets looked at. If you’re winning, everybody is going get looked at.”
Ole Miss plays South Alabama (7-5, 0-0 Sunbelt) tonight at 8:00 p.m. (CT) in The Pavilion. The Rebels lead the series 3-0, with the last meeting between the two teams coming in 2008. Live video of the game can be found at WatchESPN.com.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)