By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – Jacoby Davis was recruited to run the show as Mississippi State’s point guard during Rick Ray’s rookie season last year.
However, things did not go as planned.
Davis tore the ACL in his left knee during a July workout prior to the 2012-13 season causing him to miss the entire year. Davis’ injury left Trivante Bloodman as the Bulldogs’ only point guard last season.
With Davis healthy and the addition of freshman I.J. Ready, MSU now has three capable point guards on its roster. But the rehab process caused Davis to slip to third on the depth chart at the position.
“Coming in, everybody was saying I was going to start,” Davis said. “I got hurt last year and now I’ve got I.J. and Trivante in front of me. I’ve adapted to that transition and it’s really all about the team.”
Davis filled in as a backup point guard with Ready missing six games due to injury and has also added minutes as a wing following the midseason transfer of Dre Applewhite. The 6-foot-1, 191-pounder has appeared in 15 games for the Bulldogs, averaging 2.1 points and 9.6 minutes a game.
The Charlotte, N.C., native is undersized in his new role as a wing so he has focused more on his defense of late.
“I’ve gotten better off the ball since coach (Rick) Ray and coach (Wes) Flanigan have been coaching me up,” Davis said. “I’ve been staying after practice every day working on closeouts with coach Flanigan and denying the ball. It’s really different. I’ve never in my life stayed after practice to work on defense but it works.”
Davis is also gaining confidence in his surgically repaired knee. He is one of State’s most accurate shooters from 3-point range but is now starting to aggressively drive the lane.
“The mental side of it is starting to come back around,” Davis said. “Before our first SEC game against Kentucky, I was able to drive to the basket a lot more in practice. I’d been shooting a lot of jump shots before but I’m the type of player that goes to the basket and creates for my teammates. Lately I’ve been doing that in practice and feeling confident.”
Davis averaged 21 points and five assists in prep school at St. John’s Northwestern (Wis.) Military Academy and scored 17.5 points and dished out 3.5 assists as a senior at West Charlotte High School.
Sitting out last season last season allowed Davi, now a redshirt freshman, to ease into the transition of playing on the Division I level.
“I learned that college basketball is really fast and is really different coming from high school to college,” Davis said. “It’s more structured and you have to run the plays. You can’t just be a one-on-one player in college. You have to run the system and get everybody involved.”