Davis To Rejoin Former Mentor

As the head coach at Long Beach State, Wayne Morgan signed Compton (Calif.) Centennial standout Anthony Davis for his upside and potential to help the program down the road. The 6-foot-5 Davis had just graduated from high school early and already had the frame of a college basketball player, but needed time to develop mentally.

Unfortunately for Morgan, he didn't get the opportunity to see Davis develop. Long Beach State went in another direction, Morgan found an assistant coaching job at Iowa State, and Anthony Davis transferred to Los Angeles City College after spending his redshirt season under the future Cyclone head man.

But after committing to ISU late last week on an official visit, Davis is happy to rejoin his former mentor in Ames as a member of the Cyclones' 2004-05 team.

"The coaching staff is one of the best I've ever been associated with," Davis said. "Coach Morgan is a great guy. I was blessed to be coached by him at Long Beach State, and he is a very special man. I would be a fool not to reunite myself with him, because I consider him to be like a father and I know he considers me to be like a son. I know I would not find that chemistry anywhere else in the country.

"After visiting Ames and Hilton Coliseum, it was clear to me that Iowa State University is where I want to continue my college career. It's a beautiful town with very supportive people, and I feel the support I will receive at ISU will make me work harder and become a better basketball player."

Davis averaged nearly 11 points a game for L.A. City College this season, but has the potential for even better numbers once he gets to Ames.

"Last year we had six guys sign Division I, and all of them are averaging more points at the next level than they did here," said L.A. City head coach Mike Miller. "Part of the reason for that is we really emphasize individual improvement, and player-skill development. We have put more guys in Division I than any school in the country over the last eight years, but we don't just want to send them there, we want them excel when they get there.

"Anthony is no different than what our other group was. He averaged about 11 points a game, and I would expect that he'll average more points at Iowa State in the Big 12 than he did here. He's going to do very well, and will be one of the best defenders on the team because he was one of ours.

The potential Davis showed as a high school standout in Compton has started to come out, too. He has improved the mental aspect of his game and is now 230 pounds.

"He's already got an NBA body," Miller said. "There's not an ounce of fat on him; he's cut, solid and strong. He's like an Oklahoma or Pittsburgh player – a grind-it-out, physical type of guy. He's a wing player that shoots the ball well, can beat you off the drive, and can post you up. He has a lot of versatility, plus he plays defense and rebounds."

The fact Davis already worked with Morgan for a season at Long Beach State should cut down on the learning curve for both player and coach.

"Wayne has a prior relationship with him that's productive, which will help both of them," Miller said. "Anthony will feel comfortable and Wayne will feel comfortable because of that. I expect that will be a good fit for the next two years."

Davis looks forward to joining a Cyclone backcourt that already includes the likes of freshmen Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock, two players he developed quite a rapport with during his short time in Ames.

"The players at Iowa State University are unbelievable," Davis said. "They gel so well together. I haven't seen a Division I team pass the ball and be so unselfish, as when I saw them play. I am looking forward to playing with Will Blalock and Curtis Stinson, and will love to play on the same team together."

Davis is the fourth scholarship newcomer for the 2004-05 season, and first for the spring signing period.

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