Brad Davison certainly had a night he’ll remember against reigning 4A class state champions Hopkins High School. Davison’s ability to score was on full display with 41 of Maple Grove’s 81 points in the 11-point win over the Royals. Outside of his scoring, what stood out was the effort and competitiveness he brought on each play.
It was clear from the early goings that Maple Grove relies on Davison to do a lot. He played the entire game but his motor kept running and it seemed that he never got winded. Davison was constantly fighting or sliding after loose balls and battling for rebounds, finishing with 12.
Despite Maple Grove taking control of the game late, Davison continued to play like it was a one possession game. There was one point with about 1:30 to go where Davison went after a loose ball on the defensive end and was able to scoop and pass it to one of his teammates before falling out of bounds. The end result being a layup for Maple Grove.
When asked about the competitive drive he showed throughout the game, he pointed to the school’s winning culture and willingness to do anything in order to win.
“We just take pride in winning here at Maple Grove and that’s what we do every single time we step on the floor,” he said. “Offensively and defensively, we just try to have a good all-around game.”
Despite Hopkins trying to take Davison out of the game, the Royals simply couldn’t due to how active the four-star prospect was in looking for his shot. Davison was able to find ways of attacking the rim or moving without the ball effectively that resulted in an open three (he went 6-for-10 from three in the game).
After scoring 20 points in the first half, it took Davison some time to get his rhythm established again. But thanks to a 12-point run by Davison, Maple Grove took control of the game. He get his run started by attacking the basket while drawing a foul, converting the three-point play. On the two ensuing offensive possessions, Davison once again was able to get an easy two points thanks to a layup and then hit a three against his defender. To cap his scoring run, he hit another layup and a mid-range jump shot.
“(It) just makes you more aggressive whatever your team needs to win,” Davison said of his run. “When you have it going you just have to stay aggressive. My teammates trusted me, my coach trusted me and they just rode me when I was feeling it.”
There were instances where Davison had to defend the paint and for the most part was strong enough to hold his own, not allowing Hopkins to consistently capitalize on the mismatch and making sure he didn’t foul. Davison was also able to provide strong defense along the perimeter by taking away driving lanes and limit space between him and the defense. He finished the game with two steals.
It is hard to pinpoint what Davison did wrong against Hopkins, one of the top programs in the state of Minnesota.
When Maple Grove was able to build a 12 point lead, the Crimson allowed the lead to be cut to seven. It was minor, but Davison pointed to it afterward as not finding a way to finish the game off. That’s not all on Davison, but he didn’t attempt a field goal over the last 1:30 of the game and had a turnover in that span after being trapped in the corner and forced out of bounds before calling a timeout. The result of Davison’s turnover was Hopkins hitting a jump shot to cut the led to nine points.
It’s important that Davison as a team leader continues to look for his shot. And being the competitor he is, it’s understandable that Davison wants the ball in his hands down the final stretch in order for him to run the offense. At the same time he needs to know his position on the floor to avoid committing a turnover.
Davison has shown consistently how talented of a scorer he is and is more than capable of knocking down an open shot when given the opportunity. Davison said after the game that one of the biggest things he worked on this past summer was his shot being more consistent and him more confident with it. While he’s happy with his progress, Davison admits he’s still working on it.
With Wisconsin losing Bronson Koenig and Zak Showalter to graduation, the Badgers will likely look to Davison to come in and provide steady minutes off the bench at the guard position behind senior Jordan Hill, redshirt sophomore Brevin Pritzl and sophomore D’Mitrik Trice. Considering the way Davison played against Hopkins, there’s no reason not to think he can’t have a successful first year under Greg Gard. The Badgers will also lose scoring in the frontcourt, so Davison’s ability to catch and shoot and create his own shot – things he did against Hopkins – could be a big asset to the program.
Although Davison will continue to refine his shooting mechanics, the one thing that will help him get on the floor at Wisconsin quickly is his activeness and willing to fight for the loose balls. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Davison step in the role of a Showalter to be that energy off the bench.