(Britney McIntosh/UK Athletics)
When this season was young many fans felt this would be the year for a triple-double. Something a Kentucky player hasn’t done since Chris Mills scored 19, collected ten rebounds and dished ten assists in 1988; the one and only triple-double in Kentucky basketball history. Anthony Davis has an almost inhuman nature to block shots. That, coupled with his towering frame to haul in any rebound within about a nine-foot radius, and his uncanny ability to connect on the back end of lobs from the top of the key, means Davis should have a very realistic chance to rein in the second triple-double in school history. But now that possibility has come and gone four times — and he’s been very close — so will we ever see it happen in what we all predict will be Davis’ lone year in the Bluegrass? Has the chance come and gone?
It’s easy to see the hardest part in the trifecta of stats is reaching double-digit blocks, and for this Kentucky team, with assists being a pretty rare thing to come by, it throws out the most common stat line for a triple-double. It also removes a possibility of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or any of the guards from being a real threat for finding one too. It’ll have to be Anthony Davis and his blocks to do it.
Our first flirtation with the elusive triple-double came in early December against St. Johns where Davis had eight of the team’s school record 18 blocks, and had four before the first timeout and the score was only 5-6. It still wasn’t to be, as the Red Storm gave up going inside, and Davis missed out on the triple-double by a mere two blocks. It has been his best chance to get it, and because it came so early in the season it gave everyone an extra ounce of confidence one would come soon.
It would be another month until Davis had another chance, this time against South Carolina. The elusive “three more blocks” presented itself late in the game after collecting his seventh block with only three minutes remaining. It was a long-shot, but the stats showed he was close. The Gamecocks are weak inside so Davis had an easy time working the paint, maybe we’ll see the opportunity present itself again this Saturday in Columbia.
Third time’s a charm, so they say. Except this time. It was a couple of weeks ago against Arkansas where Davis was rolling, posting 27 points along with 14 rebounds. But it took him a little while to find his first block in this one; in fact Terrence Jones was already on his third of the game before Davis had his first. In the end, he had seven minutes to get three more, but the Cats had such a big lead they just ate the clock.
Finally, Tuesday night was the fourth real chance to see a triple double, and was one of the most promising-looking. Davis had seven blocks with over nine minutes to go, and only needed two more rebounds — an easy thing for Davis to get. But fate wasn’t on his side, and he got zero rebounds and zero blocks the rest of the game. It helped that Tennessee, and Skylar McBee, wasn’t scared to try to go inside. See, Davis needs a little luck — and maybe stupidity — from the other team too.
Looking ahead, will Anthony Davis be able to add a triple-double added to his Kentucky legacy? The last “easy” game remaining on the schedule (aside from the 16-seed the Cats will face in March) is coming this weekend at South Carolina, so will Davis be able to post it against better teams? One thing that may be on his side is teams with better inside-men won’t be as timid to go at him, allowing more opportunities to block shots. We’ve seen teams basically give up trying to score on him, like St. Johns did, but Patrick Young, Renardo Sydney and Festus Ezeli are a few players he’ll be going up against soon, and none will be scared to try to score inside, and Davis has proved he isn’t going to back down from physical play. It’ll be a good chance for swat city.
In the end, don’t think I really care about Anthony Davis getting a triple-double. Obviously it means nothing in the grand scheme of things, and of course we would all rather have a National Championship. I wish Davis the best, and hope he can get that triple-double — because he deserves to have that honor for the kind of player he is. But for now, let’s just keep winning.