<strong>LOGAN—</strong> The USU men’s basketball team welcomed a slew of new players to the squad this season, including a talented group of freshmen. While two of those freshmen have now left the team, one has more than lived up to the hype.
Marcel Davis (American Fork HS) was a highly touted point guard before arriving at Utah State, and has quickly established himself as a starter. After starting the season as the backup to junior college transfer TeNale Roland, Davis has consistently increased his minutes – finally taking over the starting job on Dec. 15 at Utah Valley.
“From day one he’s been a worker, he’s been real consistent, has played with a ton of confidence from day one,” USU assistant coach Chris Jones said. “He hasn’t had any of the so-called freshman – not quite sure you know what you’re doing, you lose your confidence … he’s just gone out there and played and he’s been really aggressive and he’s played with a lot of confidence and he’s played good in practice and the work is paying off for him in games.”
Through 10 games, Davis is averaging 6.6 points and 2.2 assists per game, while shooting 64 percent from the field and 43 percent from beyond the arc in 18.4 minutes of action. In the last five games, Davis’ numbers have really improved.
The freshman really had a coming out party in the first half of USU’s thrilling overtime win on the road at Santa Clara. Following that game, he scored a career-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting in a home contest against Western Oregon. That performance led to his first start.
“I’d say the Santa Clara game,” Davis said when asked what he thought was his coming out party. “Western Oregon I was just hitting shots, but that’s really not my game to score 20 points a game. Santa Clara, I came in against a good physical D-I team and just played and I was just having fun and took it over to the next game.”
In the five games the Aggies have played since Santa Clara, Davis is averaging 12.2 points and three assists in nearly 25 minutes of action per game.
“We knew he was a good player, maybe he’s started to play better quicker than maybe some people would think. We’ve always had a lot of confidence in him and knew he was a good player,” Jones said. “He’s got the chance to be out there and play 20 minutes a night, and he’s getting to play a lot. With playing time, you usually get better.”
According to Jones, confidence and competitiveness are certainly some things that have helped Davis become a key contributor for the Aggies so quickly. Davis was also a member of the local AAU team, Utah Pump-N-Run, which allowed him to face top competition from across the country and better prepare himself for the transition to college basketball.
For Davis, finally donning an Aggie uniform is a dream come true, and being such an integral part of the team so quickly is icing on the cake.
“I was telling my mom and dad how happy I am to be up here and how this is the place for me. Just being here with the guys and just having fun made the realization for me that Utah State is the place for me and I’m glad I chose to come here,” Davis said.
“It’s a once in a lifetime thing. I used to come into games when I was younger and just wanted to play here with all these fans behind you. It gives you confidence when you all these people who believe in you and cheer you on every game.”
With a good portion of the current Aggie roster in their junior or senior season, Davis is certainly primed to be the face of Aggies as they continue to grow and move into a new conference in 2013.
“The things that he has going for him, is he has such great instincts, and he’s very competitive. With those two things going for him he’s getting better and doing a really good job,” Jones said.