The Curious Case of Amari Davis

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Green Bay’s 6-foot-3 leading scorer hasn’t hit a three this season

In 2016, Oakland guard Max Hooper earned national attention as a mid-major role player because he went the entire season where he averaged double figures without attempting a two-point shot. While it may not be quite as impressive because he has attempted a few, Green Bay freshman gaurd Amari Davis seems to be taking the opposite route. He’s managed to lead the Phoenix in scoring with 16.1 points per game without hitting a single three-pointer this season.

What’s more extraordinary, the 6-foot-3 volume scorer has been able to shoot an efficient 58.1% from the field despite what’s becoming a staple of modern basketball — particularly for a scoring guard — not being a part of his repertoire. The end result is a player who is a strong early favorite to be the Horizon League’s Freshman of the Year and a potential All-Horizon League pick.

Davis’ numbers and efficiency stand out even more when you consider the schedule Green Bay has faced this year. The Phoenix have played seven of 11 games on the road plus home games against Patriot League favorite Colgate and an 8-4 Evansville team that beat Kentucky at Rupp Arena.

While opening Horizon League play on the road against league favorites Wright State and Northern Kentucky won’t be any easier than what Green Bay played in the non-conference, it will create a situation where Davis has 16 comparatively easier games in a row to improve statistically both in terms of hitting three-pointers and posting better all-around numbers against easier opponents. It seems likely that the four-time Horizon League Freshman of the Week could make an even stronger case for Freshman of the Year once he’s actually going up against league opponents.

Davis’ numbers are no doubt impressive considering the glaring absence of perimeter shooting in his game, but it’s unlikely he’ll be able to continue with the same efficiency for four years without adding a three-point shot. This is especially true if Linc Darner continues to schedule a murderer’s row during the non-conference slate.

Davis has had some amazing performances against teams a step above Horizon League competition. He shot 8-for-10 in an 88-70 loss at Wisconsin in November and 12-for-14 in last week’s 79-66 loss at UCF. The Wisconsin game in particular stands out as a game that might not play out the same way with a year’s worth of tape on Davis. Davis tallied then-career highs in minutes and points in what was his fourth career game and the first where he put up a truly outstanding performance against high-level competition. At the time, he was a difficult scout given how little tape there was on him. If Big 10 caliber athletes know they can play off of him because he’s not a threat to shoot, games could get out of hand as Green Bay’s go-to-guy can’t create any offense.

The Phoenix’s contest tonight against Concordia College (IL) would seem like a great opportunity for Davis to end his streak without a three-pointer. Green Bay’s grueling schedule hasn’t given players a lot of opportunities for tune-ups, so getting some in-game repetitions on a shot he’ll likely need to develop longterm would be wise. While Monday’s release of the NET Rankings indicates he’ll probably have more opportunities against weak opponents in league play than he did in the non-conference, a game that Green Bay can get through even if Davis shoots poorly seems like the best spot to start working on the shot.

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