Utah State basketball: Aggie newcomer Kyle Davis to face his old team
Logan • Kyle Davis thought he had taken his home floor, but the loud boos threw him off.
The then-freshman got his first dose of Utah State basketball in the fall of 2010, when his Southern Utah Thunderbirds fell to the Brian Green and Tai Wesley-led Aggies, 66-53. Even though the T-birds were playing at their own Centrum Arena, Davis recalled the attendance being dominated by Aggies supporters.
"It's fun to be the beneficiary of it now," he said.
The Aggies now are the beneficiary of Davis' talents. The 6-foot-7 forward has come a long way since being held scoreless against the Aggies in that game. He now is a sophomore starter for Utah State with big expectations for the season.
Davis has done much himself to generate that buzz. Since transferring to Logan after completing his LDS Church mission, he's established himself as a high-effort, high-character addition not really your typical newcomer.
"We don't really think of Kyle as a freshman," senior guard Spencer Butterfield said. "He's kind of a veteran. He is older, he's more mature. He knows what it takes to be successful at the D-I level. He was successful at Southern Utah, and all that experience carries with him."
Davis will be taking on his old team at 7 p.m. Tuesday, but he doesn't see much familiar about the group. The T-birds have overturned their roster in the last two years, including bringing in new coach Nick Robinson.
Aside from his old roommate Cal Hanks, a former Mountain Crest star, Davis said the program is completely different from his freshman year, when he averaged 8.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for SUU, which finished 11-19.
Davis started rusty after two years away from the game, he said.
"In a sense, it feels pretty new after two years to get back in the rhythm of things," he said. "Yeah, it's still a process. It's still going on. Starting to feel a lot better and get back in game shape."
He'll have his memories from SUU, such as a 21-point, 14-rebound night in a win at Centenary that still stands out as one of his best games. But Davis also has concentrated on making new ones at Utah State.
His first game against USC, for example, flashes what he could be for the Aggies: He finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three assists. His work ethic is what's blended him into the offense so quickly, his teammates said.
"He's very coachable," Butterfield said. "He's willing to learn. He's a hard worker, and I think a big thing is when you're willing to put in that work, I think that's why he's been able to adapt so well."
Southern Utah at Utah State
P Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, Logan
Tipoff • 7 p.m.
TV • ROOT Sports
Radio • 1280 AM
Records • Utah State (1-0); SUU (1-0)
Series history • USU leads 6-0
Last meeting • USU 65, SUU 62 on Nov. 19, 2011 at USU