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Season preview: CHD interviews UC Irvine PF Will Davis II

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with UC Irvine PF Will Davis II about being 1 of the best shot-blockers in school history.

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What made you choose the Anteaters? I did a year of prep school on the East Coast so I got recruited by a lot of East Coast schools, but I wanted to come back home to California. They have a real family environment in Irvine: I even met some of the players’ parents during my initial visit here!

You play for Coach Russ Turner: what makes him such a good coach, and what is the most important thing you ever learned from him? He always tells us how it is: he never sugarcoats anything and gives everyone an equal opportunity to play. He taught me to never make excuses.

In February 2012 you set a school record with 8 blocks in a win over Cal-State Northridge, and in 2013 you led the conference with 2.4 blocks: what is your secret for blocking shots? I did not have many blocks entering conference play as a freshman, but I ended up setting a school record with 55 and then broke it again the following year. I was conference DPOY as a sophomore and made defense an emphasis of my game.

In the 2013 CIT you had a career-high 32 points (13-18 FG)/14 rebounds in a win over High Point: was it just one of those scenarios where every shot you put up seemed to go in because you were “in the zone”? It was partially that way. I felt that I was hot in the first half so my teammates kept giving me the ball in good positions. That was the most shots I have ever taken in a game.

You were fourth in the conference last year with 55.2 FG%: what is your secret for being a good shooter? Most of my shots are layups and dunks and I do not try to take many low-percentage shots.

In the 2014 NIT you had 11 rebounds in a loss to SMU: what did you learn from that game that you think can help you this year? We were up in the first half and might have let up a bit in the second half, so next time we need to keep our foot on their throat. The NIT was a bigger scale than the CIT: we were a bit in awe of the spotlight.

Your non-conference schedule includes games against Arizona, Fresno State, and Oregon: which of these games do you feel will present your biggest test? I think Arizona will: our coach said that they were number one in some preseason poll of the best defensive teams in the country (we were #10), so that should be a great battle.

What are your goals for the upcoming season, and what are your expectations for the upcoming season? I want to do the best I can because this is my final year, and I would love to win the conference title and make the NCAA tourney.

JonTeitel