A year ago today, March 1, 2011, the news release from BYU was sent out about 6 p.m. MST.
A couple days after BYU had been ranked No. 3 in both major college basketball polls, the school was announcing that one of its three best players, forward Brandon Davies, would no longer be allowed to represent the team in its last two regular-season games or in the postseason.
Davies had violated the school's honor code, the release said.
A year later, Davies is flourishing as one of the top players in the West Coast Conference. That's the gist of this story in The Salt Lake Tribune this morning.
"Man, it has been crazy that it has been a year. It seems like that was such a long time ago. I think if there is a grade past an A, I would give him that, because it was nearly an impossible situation to work though," said BYU senior Charles Abouo. "I don't know if many of us other students would have been able to do it. He's a great kid, he has great character, and he dealt with it basically as well as anyone can.
He did as good of a job as you can in that process of coming back."
Coach Dave Rose said Davies' comeback has been nothing short of remarkable, and that the junior's improvement continues and should continue through his senior season.
"Well I think that he's made a ton of improvement just this season. He has become so much more of a consistent offensive threat inside. We have always kinda played through Brandon, but he makes so many more positive plays in the post," Rose said. "He has become a much better passer. I think his aggression level is more consistent. He's a better rebounder on both ends of the floor.
I think defensively he has really improved as far as his ability to anticipate the next pass, anticipate the next drive. He attacks penetration great. He is a really good help defender, and then consistently scoring the ball.
Another real improvement for him is at the foul line -- shooting free throws.
One thing that happens as a post player, when you are skilled and gifted like Brandon is, when you feel really comfortable at that free-throw line you become way more aggressive as a low post player, because you want to get fouled, you want to go to the line. That's been a big plus for him."
I asked Davies how he believes he has handled the situation.
"I think we've done pretty well. My main focus was just on-the-court-stuff, as a team, and doing everything I can to help my team win. That's what we've been doing. We are not done yet. We still have a ways to go, goals that we need to reach," he said. " I couldn't have done it without my teammates, I feel. I think it shows out on the court, how we have been playing so far."
A few more comments from Davies that didn't make it into the story:
On how much he's improved this year, and how he's done it:
"I gotta give a lot of the credit to my coaches, for them believing in me and them pushing me every single day. Coach Pope is a great addition to that as well. So a lot of credit goes to them, that and just kind of growing into my body and maturing."
On who he has leaned on to help him get through the past year:
"We have all come together even more as a team. We have all come together. It is a solid group. We are all there for each other no matter what. We all lean on each other. That's just how we play, especially defensively, we gotta count on each other to do our own jobs. When we are all doing our own jobs, we are a lot better team."
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