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Ed Davis Declares for the Draft

April 13, 2010

Is he going?  Yes.  Is he ready?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Am I upset? A little (maybe a lot).  Do I understand why he's leaving?  Yeah, it makes perfect sense.  I would probably go too.


When players like Ed Davis leave early, it's not about the numbers they put up in college, how many minutes they played, or whether they're ready or not.  With the possibility of an NBA lockout next year, his leaving after his sophomore year makes perfect sense: why would a player with that kind of potential not leave early?  So the early departure is not what upsets me.  What upsets me most is that I feel like we never knew him.

The very essence of college basketball is temporary.  The longest these guys wear a team's uniform is for four years, and then they're gone; and those four years are both literally and figuratively the end of their adolescence.  These players come to college campuses at the end of their teens, and leave on the threshold of manhood.  When they leave college, their basketball game is a bear thrashing at its cage, biting at its chains, longing to be let loose on the world, but, when a player leaves early, that bear so often enters the NBA like a timid cub, not thrashing and roaring at the bars, but pawing and poking at the padlock, whining more than roaring, and sometimes in need of a nap.  Players like Ed Davis are hard to watch leave early because so little of what they did at Carolina gave them a true identity in the school's pantheon.

That's not to say that Ed Davis did not contribute to the program; he rebounded and blocked shots at a per minute rate that made his production resemble the rapid fire of a gatling gun, as he played significant minutes on Carolina's 2009 championship team.  What's strange is that Ed only began to receive a consistent place in the rotation when his fellow freshman big on that team, Ty Zeller, went down with a broken wrist.  I always saw these two as doppelgangers or foils of one another.  Ed's defense and rebounding and dunks garnered all the talk of athleticism, while Zeller's speed and grace and ability to glide as a 7 footer garnered all the coach's son talk.  These two, based on their skin color as well as the style of their games, formed a basketball yin and yang.  They had something to teach us.  The weak shot that Ed swatted away, Zeller reincarnated with a jump hook.  They completed each other, but, because of injuries and now Ed's early departure, they'll never finish the lesson.  We'll never see them side by side unteach all the refracted beauty with which the lens of race causes us to view the game of basketball.  If these two continued to play beside one another, I truly believe it would have gotten more and more difficult to tell them apart.  Their games would have blended, and we would have seen that athleticism effuses from and through the skin and flesh of our bodies.  It was going to be beautiful, but, alas, Ed Davis is leaving.

Now, the Carolina image of a pencil-thin Ed Davis falls in line with the images of Marvin Williams and Brandan Wright, and that's exactly what they are: images.  Their one season stays in Chapel Hill were fleeting, almost like dreams or hallucinations that we never quite grasped.  There's something ethereal about their time in light blue. Like a pencil refracted in water, their careers lack a continuity of form, and, therefore, substance, or they're like those instances when one quickly fires off rounds of syllables and words into the white flesh of the paper, as if the pencil were a gatling gun, and the results are sentences that explode in a beautiful fire and with each punctuation mark the point grows duller and duller until it's in need of sharpening.  One rushes to the mechanical pencil sharpener, holding onto the crank as tightly as the idea in one's head,  while reloading the ammunition.  Then one rushes back to their desk, trips over the waste basket, falls back into their seat, and begins to write--the sharp point snaps, the idea is gone, and we never know how Ed Davis would have finished his essay, story, career. . . .

and I find it hard to read without a conclusion (or at least the one I wanted).  Best of luck, Ed, I hope you find the ending you seek. It was fun while it lasted.

14 comments:

Russ said...

I liked how Roy basically said they would have make the tournament if he wasn't injured, when UNC was 2-8 in Ed's last 10 games before the injury.

I thought he should have left last year and he would have been dumb to stay another year for the reasons you already described. Good luck to Easy Ed.

April 13, 2010 at 9:53 PM
Langston said...

Plus sides to staying: winning, which would help him creat his own UNC legend. Improving skills, moving his spot in the draft from top 10 to top 5.

Negative sides: Lock-out, no reason to go pro until after his senior year and losing $millions in the process. Getting the injury prone label, moving him to an un-guaranteed contract in the second round or worse. Harrison Barnes cutting his minutes and impact greatly, ultimately crushing his stock.

Yeah he can't be blamed for leaving, anyone with any sense would do the same, but I can't blame you for asking what-if.

April 13, 2010 at 10:20 PM
Teach said...

It's the what-if...as in (also) what would he do with more than a left-handed jump hook? I want him to be successful at the next level, but that's going to require him developing some sort of move that he can deploy while going to his right

April 13, 2010 at 10:22 PM
Iceman, AD said...

I knew this was coming.....sorry guys.

April 13, 2010 at 10:26 PM
Langston said...

It's terrible that something completely out of their hands, the potential lock-out, is forcing their decision-making. Hopefully his career is more Marvin Williams and less Joe Forte's.

April 13, 2010 at 10:28 PM
Teach said...

Here's an interesting idea...instead of talking about guys who have left...guys who should leave but aren't

April 13, 2010 at 10:37 PM
Langston said...

I'm intrigued. Think about the potential draft class in 2012. If they have a lock-out, influencing guys to stay a year longer, it would give 2012 essentially two years worth of NBA talent. It would also give us one of the most talented tourneys and one of the deepest drafts in a very long time.

April 13, 2010 at 10:59 PM
Deckfight said...

i never got ed davis. i always expected more out of the supposed 'star' player this ssn. ed davis=roy hibbert.

April 14, 2010 at 2:29 PM
Teach said...

Langston: While I hate the idea of a lockout as an NBA fan, it could make college basketball resemble something not quite seen since the early to mid '90s.

Deckfight: I'm not sure I can go Roy Hibbert as a comparison for Ed. It took Roy three years to even get mentioned in draft talk. Ed's a much more fluid and quick defender. Before he got hurt this year, Ed was one of the top double-double guys in the nation.

Russ: The only way UNC maybe makes the tourney is if both Ed and Zeller stay healthy. Before the team's skid in conference play, they were the team's two best players. I don't know how many teams that only play three upper classmen would have done well losing their two best players each for a half season each.

April 14, 2010 at 7:13 PM
Teach said...

Deckfight: Okay, I've thought about it, and I've come to the conclusion that while Ed is not Roy Hibbert II he could be the love child of Hibbert and Hakim Warrick.

April 14, 2010 at 7:40 PM
Deckfight said...

yeah, i guess i meant NBA Roy Hibbert. Hibbert always fascinated me during his college career though. everyone said hibbert would be going early each year, then jeff green totally outplayed him in the tournament & ends up going fifth or something.

there needs to be a simmons college-overvalued spectrum...hibbert would've been on there. adam morrison, too obviously. this is different than a 'draft' bust i guess...or maybe not.

April 14, 2010 at 9:11 PM
Russ said...

All I know is that Ed Davis was still playing when UNC had double digit losses at the beginning of February. At that point UNC wasn't making the tournament unless they made a complete turn around or if they won the ACC tournament. You can contend that not having Zeller contributed to the slide, but not Ed Davis, which is what Roy is implying.

How has Greg Monroe not declared yet? Bonafied Top 5 pick and he is gonna pull a Sam Bradford?

April 14, 2010 at 9:12 PM
Teach said...

There's no way of telling if Roy's right or not, but a head coach has to think his team has a chance; and I think where Roy is coming from is that if when Zeller came back that if Ed had been healthy they had a chance--however, the makeup of this team meant that when Zeller came back because of Ed's injury the camel's back was broken

April 14, 2010 at 10:09 PM
Teach said...

also, that's a lot of if's

April 15, 2010 at 5:57 PM

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