Davis a 'Great Shot Blocker'

On Monday afternoon, Richmond (Va.) Benedictine coach Sean McAloon conducted his first tennis practice of the spring. While the team has been hitting for a few weeks, McAloon was busy coaching another team -- the basketball team -- to a state title. Helping lead the way was North Carolina-bound senior and McDonald's All-American Ed Davis.

While McAloon thinks that Davis would probably look intimidating on the tennis court, he's just happy to have had the opportunity to coach the 6-9 forward on the hardwood.

Arriving prior to the start of his junior year, Davis was already a highly touted and sought after prospect thanks to his work at Mechanicsville (Va.) Hanover and on the club circuit. His new coach wasn't sure what to expect.

"I always knew that he was a quiet kid and never said much when he was on the court," McAloon said. "From the outside in it looked like he might be lazy, that's the best way to put it. Coming into a team that had a bunch of seniors who could play, I told him that I was going to teach him how to play hard and that's what he did."

It's that experience that was already intact at Benedictine that really allowed Davis to ease his way into a new environment and produce as a junior before dominating during his All-American senior campaign.

"Ed didn't have to come in and be the man, everything went through him, but at the same time he had other people to take the pressure off of him," said McAloon of Davis' junior season. "Last year he just played, we played through him and others played off of him to get their shots, but this year we really counted on him."

Not only did Davis produce as a senior (averaging 22 points, 14 rebounds and 7 blocks), the sometimes quiet big man become a bit more of a vocal leader. "We went into this year and he set the pace early in the season, him and my other seniors," McAloon said. "In terms of how to practice hard and make everything a competition, he was right there being more vocal and making sure we did that."

Looking ahead, it would appear as if the big man is ready to step in and contribute at North Carolina because of his length, athleticism, defensive ability and rapidly growing arsenal of offensive weapons.

"I've seen Carolina play a lot and I think that Ed is going to come in and be the best shot blocker on that team next year, I honestly believe that," McAloon said. "He won't guard the strongest player because he's thin, but from the help side and things of that nature he's going to be great. The way they play, and run, I think he could run with them."

Having watched him closely for the past two seasons, McAloon gave Carolina fans a preview of what to expect from Davis once he arrives on campus.

"He's long, he can run the floor like a deer," McAloon said. "He can knock down the foul line jumper on a consistent basis and he's got a jump hook. He rebounds extremely well in traffic even though he's [thin] and he's a great shot blocker."

This isn't just a high school coach gushing about his star's ability either, according to McAloon, Davis really takes things personally on the defensive end of the floor.

"He gets angry that you are coming at him, that's 100 percent of the time what it is," McAloon said. "He's not going to let you score on him. He's either going to block your shot or put you on your butt and nine out of 10 times he'll end up blocking it."

Just as important as his on the court skill is Davis' ability to navigate the life of a high profile athlete and student off the court.

"He's a high profile kid and there has been a lot of people trying to tell him what to do," his coach said. "He has a tight inner circle of his teammates, his family and coaches and he doesn't stray much from them. Ed is just a go-about-his-business type of kid. Even as the recruiting was going on you could tell that it was wearing on him a little, he never let it bother him.

"The thing that impressed me was that with all of these people talking to him and interviewing him after every game telling him how he scored 40 or had a triple double, he always made it about the team. I never talked to him about that, he just did it on his own. That's just the type of kid that he is."

As Davis moves on from Benedictine, McAloon is certain that Roy Williams and the Tar Heel basketball program are getting a winner.

"Basketball wise, obviously we're going to miss him," McAloon concluded. "He's a double-double machine who affects the game in every way shape and form. As a person, I see him every day because he makes it a point to stop by my office just to come in and say ‘what's up' or to see how I'm doing for general conversation. He's a good kid, he's funny and he'll definitely be missed"

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