VALPARAISO | Nick Davidson arrived at Valparaiso knowing the transition from the high school game was going to be difficult. After a season in which the Andrean product barely saw the floor, that transition has been magnified.
Davidson, the 2013 Times Player of the Year, played just 67 minutes this season and only 11 minutes during Horizon League play. The freshman will get another opportunity to see the floor this evening as Valparaiso hosts Columbia in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com tournament.
“This has been a real eye-opener for me,” Davidson said. “Not only as a basketball player, but as a student as well. The jump from high school to college, it’s just so different.”
Davidson committed to Valparaiso during his sophomore year at Andrean and then helped recruit his fellow classmates, such as Lexus Williams. While Williams, Alec Peters and Jubril Adekoya have earned significant minutes out of the starting lineup, Davidson has toiled at the end of the bench.
“I’ve just been looking at different things, seeing what has worked for people,” Davidson said. “This experience has made me hungrier. I’m just trying to get better and there is motivation to see 10 guys in the locker room that are easily better than me right now.”
Davidson plans on staying around the Athletics-Recreation Center this summer as he prepares for the 2014-15 season. Those preparations have already begun as the Crusaders have been practicing for the CIT with next season in mind. With Jordan Coleman and Bobby Capobianco out for the tournament, coach Bryce Drew has made it clear that the focus is on next season, a fact that has been evident in practice.
“These last couple practices have been very competitive,” Davidson said. “It feels like the beginning of the season again. They’ve been a lot of fun and there has definitely been a different tone. No one really knows how the minutes are going to go in this game and everyone is just competing real hard.”
Drew said on Monday afternoon that he expects to have a different starting lineup, but that senior guard Lavonte Dority would still play significant minutes. The third-year coach has seen a renewed enthusiasm from his team since they returned to campus last week. Drew is hoping that an additional week of practice will help his young players, including Davidson, get a good job on next season.
“No question that the time in the gym has been wonderful,” Drew said. “We’ve been able to teach a little bit more. When you’re playing games you’re focused on the next opponent. This has allowed us to sit back and do some teaching. That’s been a big benefit for us.”