The Leaner and Quicker Davante Gardner

Here is an interview I conducted with Davante Gardner last Saturday at the Scion Dental Summer Pro AM Basketball League. Gardner had just finished a game where he scored 55 points, grabbed 23 rebounds and had one assist. The soft spoken Gardner looks like a different player this year. He has been working out three times a day with MU trainer Todd Smith

and looks much more agile on his feet running up and down the court and has more foot speed with his post moves. Last yr at the Pro AM, Gardner flashed potential when he scored 17 pts and had 15 rebounds in the first quarter while being guarded by former MU post Ousmane Barro. Unfortunately, Gardner tired and ended that game with 23 pts and 17 rebounds.

But that was last year...what about this year?

DoddsOnSports:  Wow, that was an impressive performance, 55 points, 23 rebounds!


Gardner:  We told our team that every time we got the ball we should push it up the court as fast as we could and we would win the game and we did. 


DOS:  The difference between you this year and  last year.  You look like a different player.  How do you feel?  It looks as though you are moving very well.


Gardner:   Last year I felt a little bit slow.  This year I feel like I am in much better shape and can move better because I have been training with Todd Smith at Marquette.   He has me in shape working out three times a day.


DOS:  Three times a day?  Can you describe what you work on?  It is just weights or is it more than that?


Gardner:  In the morning, it is weights.  In the afternoon, it is basketball related drills and the third time, there is more fun stuff like gymnastics, like climbing things up ropes, that kind of thing.


DOS:  Last year you surprised many with the accuracy of your outside shot.  You could really hit three point set shots. In practice, I heard you were one of the best shooters on the team. Have you always been able to shoot from the three point line?


Gardner:  When I was younger, all I did was shoot, so I developed a pretty good outside shot.  Now the long range outside shot is still a part of my [practice]routine.


DOS:  Last year you played so well against Duke and North Carolina that you must have been one of the ACC non- conference opponent players of the year.


Gardner:   A lot of people said I could not play against big time competition, but I was able to prove them wrong against Duke and North Carolina.


DOS:  You look like you are moving a lot better even just moving up and down the court.


Gardner:  Yes, I feel much quicker running up and down the court even when I have the ball I feel like I am much quicker.



DOS:  The coaches said that they are trying to develop more of an intermediate game for you .... they want you to work on the 10 to 12 foot jump shot.  Do you think you can add that to your game this year?


Gardner:  Yes, the coaches are trying to fit that in my game so I can play more minutes at the four.[Power Forward]


DOS:  You have always had a real good feel for catching the ball (soft hands) and passing the ball out of the post.  Is that an important part of your game?


Gardner:  When I get the ball in the post, I always look to pass first.  The second option is looking to score.


DOS:  During your Freshman yr, you showed a vast array of post moves with your back to the basket.  You are also very quick getting to the ball especially on your own missed shot.  You have a knack down low for knowing where the ball is going to bounce on a missed shot. Are you working on â??a go toâ?? post move? 


Gardner:  This year I am working on my turnaround game for times when I play people who are bigger than me.  I want to be able to shoot it over them and get by them.


DOS:  As far as the newcomers go, can you comment about freshman guard Derrick Wilson?


Gardner:  He is on my summer team and he is a very good point guard, a very strong kid.  He makes the right reads and makes very good passes.  Probably needs to work on his outside shot a little but heâ??s big and strong down low.


DOS:  What about Juan Anderson?


Gardner:  He is very long and athletic, a good rebounder and he can make shots.


DOS:  Thanks for taking time with us.  Wow, 55 points and 23 rebounds.  How can you improve on that?


Gardner:  I will just try to work harder and do better.


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