Why Dre Davis has earned his coach’s praise

Chris Mack the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Chris Mack the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Chris Mack had some high praise for true freshman guard-forward Dre Davis following the game on Tuesday night.

In a postgame press conference, Louisville basketball head coach Chris Mack heaped praise on star freshman Dre Davis following the Western Kentucky win.

When coaches in the college ranks speak on young players with their teams, it usually sounds something along the lines of the player needs to improve or has a long way to go in their development.

That is clearly not the case for how Chris Mack thinks of former Indiana high school star Dre’ Davis.

It’s easy to agree with everything Mack said in his statement about Davis. He has been overachieving in the early stages of the season with an inflated role due to injuries within the team.

Davis has not been just a solid contributor to the team in the early goings. He has been one of the premier stars including coming up the biggest of all in a game against one of the best mid-major teams: Western Kentucky

Davis scored 21 points in the meeting and put together a personal seven-point run that sparked Louisville to bloom their lead against the Toppers in the second half.

He is one of the calmest freshman you will ever see. The game never looks too big with him despite all of the moving parts that occur on a Division I college basketball court. Davis is not just collected for freshman standards. He is one of the least mistake-prone players through the first few games.

Davis has just four turnovers so far this season while playing over 31 minutes per game. That’s tremendous for him and a large reason that Chris Mack says he does not play like a freshman. This form of understanding as a freshman happens on both ends of the floor for him.

I feel comfortable saying that Dre’ Davis is Louisville’s best all around defender that is currently healthy. He’s smart, he knows his place, and he makes the play when it is there. Davis does not cheat himself on that end and he knows that in order to make the impact he wants, he has to get it done at the defensive end of the floor first.

He’s been drawing charges, swatting shots, and, most importantly, he always seems to be in correct defensive position whether it is straight up man-to-man or switching off of screens. That’s what makes him a special freshman. It’s clear that Davis has put in the necessary work to make a large impact. Davis might see out that he starts every game the rest of the season even when the injured guys return.

On offense, he is surgical and so smart about the way he operates.

Davis is shooting 55 percent so far this year and that is not out of pure luck. As a freshman with low expectations, he himself must know that he does not need to be the guy on the team that generates constant offense. He can leave that up to players like Carlik Jones, David Johnson, and Samuell Williamson (when healthy).

Here is what makes Davis so good, though. He is not afraid. It’s clear when a young player is timid and not confident in their game. Efficiency with balance is so difficult for a freshman. Davis attacks when he gets his opportunities and he passes up bad looks when it is not there for him.

Just four games in, somehow it feels like it is a virtual guarantee that Davis will be smart and efficient when he is on the floor every night the Cardinals are in action.

Are those unrealistic expectations for the young man?


Has he given us a reason to think otherwise?


It’s fair to be incredibly psyched for Davis and what he could become. I am not sure that his ceiling is enormous as there are some fair questions about how great of an athlete he truly is. But his floor is clearly quite high and Louisville fans should be happy to enjoy the ride.

Chris Mack is so right in his statement on Davis. He does all of the little things to help the team win and his understanding of what that takes is deserving of praise. In a year where Covid and injuries are in the back of the minds of basketball programs across the country, having a “warrior” of a true freshman is about as luxurious as it gets.