Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 25 Player Countdown. Each day, we publish a new article counting down the 25 best players in the Atlantic 10 this past season. Today, kick off our countdown with #25, Kyle Davis.
College basketball is full of tough guys, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one tougher than Kyle Davis. In fact, Dayton’s Kyle Davis could be considered the toughest minded player in the entire nation. As one of four senior starters on Dayton’s 2016-17 team, Davis used his fighter’s mentality to provide leadership. Last season Davis helped lead the Flyers to their fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance and second consecutive A-10 regular season title. As a member of Dayton’s all-time winningest class, it’s safe to say that Davis’ career and senior season will live on as one to remember.
In Dayton’s fifth game of this past season, Davis displayed what he can do in every facet of the game. Matched up with Portland’s star guard Jazz Johnson, Davis knew he needed to bring his game defensively. As always, Davis did just that. Not only did Davis make his mark defensively, though, the senior leader also dropped 14 points. Add in his five rebounds, three steals, and two blocks, and Davis’ performance was enough to help Dayton grab an 84-74 win.
Just three games following the win over Portland, Davis recorded his season high with 18 points against St. Joseph’s College. Then, starting on December 23rd, Davis scored in double digits five straight times. Davis’ five game scoring stretch helped propel Dayton to big wins against Rhode Island and St. Bonaventure.
The most important performance of Davis’ senior season, however, came on senior night against VCU. Clinching the outright A-10 regular season title with a win, Davis left everything he had out on the court. The Flyer’s leader dropped 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds to help Dayton secure a 79-72 win. As only fitting, Davis played with a lot of heart in his final home game and earned his team some hardware.
While looking at the box score usually tells a lot about a star player, that is not the case for Kyle Davis. Averaging 8.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game, Davis put up quality, but not necessarily conference top 25 type numbers. The reason Davis made this list does not have to do with statistics, rather, it has everything to do with his heart. As the heart and soul of the A-10’s regular season champions, Davis certainly deserved to be named one of the conference’s top 25 players.
Even though Davis might not be an explosive scorer, he did put up some efficient offensive numbers last season. Davis shot 56% from the field and an outstanding 40% from three in the 30 games he played. In addition, Davis led the way on Dayton’s dominant defense, averaging 1.6 steals per game.
Doing a little bit of everything, Davis proved himself to be Dayton’s handyman over the course of his career. Archie Miller commented on Davis’ senior leadership many times throughout last year. Named to the A-10’s all-defensive team, Davis made his mark in areas that don’t show up on the stat sheet. As a member of Dayton’s 2014 Elite Eight team and the all-time winningest class in program history, Flyer fans will certainly not forget Davis’ contributions any time soon.