Kendric Davis averaged more than 22 points a game as a senior last season at Houston Sam Houston High School.
He topped the 20-point mark for the first time in his young college career Saturday at Iowa State, pouring in a team-high 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting to lift TCU to an upset victory.
Davis also had four assists to just one turnover in a season-high 29 minutes of action. It was a much-needed breakout game for Davis and the Frogs. The goal is now to sustain that type of production down the stretch run, starting with today’s “Big Monday” game against No. 13 Kansas.
“He’s come a long way,” senior point guard Alex Robinson said of Davis. “Every game he’s gotten better. He’s gotten more comfortable with the speed of the game. He’s going to be good for us down the stretch.”
TCU coach Jamie Dixon likes having two point guards on the floor, and Davis’ emergence continues to soften what was lost when Jaylen Fisher decided to transfer last month.
It was seen Saturday when TCU went with a smaller lineup for much of the game against Iowa State, and posted its most impressive victory to date. The Cyclones were selected as one of the top 16 teams in the country hours before the game by the NCAA Tournament’s selection committee.
“Kendric was terrific,” Dixon said afterward. “He was a difference-maker for us. He’s defending better. He’s shooting jump shots now. He’s just become a better player as you hope all freshmen do as the year progresses.”
What’s the key for Davis to sustain it the rest of the way?
“It’s about being consistent, preparing the right way,” Dixon said. “Kendric has to stay steady. He can’t let one play affect the next play. He’s shooting the jump shot now, which he kind of fought us on that a while. Just getting better and better defensively.
“And I think he does make us better on the offensive end.”
Davis showed why he earned a 4-star rating coming out of Sam Houston High, and was a nominee for the McDonald’s All-American Game. As with any sport, there’s been an adjustment period for Davis.
For as good as Texas high school hoops is, there’s no preparing for the speed and level of play in the Big 12 except getting game action. And it helps when your shot is falling like Davis’ did Saturday.
“I’d been getting good looks,” Davis said. “I knew eventually they would fall.”
Davis pointed to the speed of the game as the biggest adjustment he’s had to make, saying it’s “way different coming straight from high school.”
Hello, Big Monday
ESPN’s Big Monday is coming back to Fort Worth and this TCU-Kansas showdown has plenty of attention. The school expects 17 scouts representing 14 NBA teams to be in attendance for the game.
And TCU plans to “White Out” Schollmaier Arena, supplying every fan in attendance with a white T-shirt.
It’s the second consecutive year that one of college basketball’s signature dates is coming to Fort Worth. The Big Monday tradition made its debut on Jan. 5, 1987.
TCU hosted its first-ever Big Monday contest last year, defeating No. 7 West Virginia 82-73.
ESPN announcers Bob Wischusen, Fran Fraschilla and Holly Rowe are on the call.
▪ Senior forward JD Miller is six points away from joining the 1,000-point club. He has 994 going into tonight’s game. Robinson and junior guard Desmond Bane joined the 1,000-point club earlier this season.
▪ Sophomore forward Kouat Noi has scored double-figures in 17 of the 19 games he’s played this season, and the Frogs are 13-4 in those games. Noi has also made a 3-pointer in 22 consecutive games and counting.
▪ TCU shot 53.2 percent from the field against Iowa State. The Frogs are 8-0 this season when shooting more than 50 percent, and 33-4 in those games during Dixon’s tenure.