Four months after the end of his junior season with the Dayton Flyers, Kyle Davis looks different.
Davis has less hair for one. He has gone back to the short style he wore as a sophomore, at least for the summer. He has packed on muscle and hopes to play his final season at 185 pounds so he can guard bigger players. He weighed 175 last season.
“A lot of people have been asking me, ‘Am I getting bigger?’” Davis said Tuesday. “I feel I’m getting bigger. I feel stronger. Every day I’m in the weight room.”
In short, the Chicago native and Morgan Park Academy graduate Davis looks like the senior co-captain he is, a player poised to end a memorable career with another stellar season, not to mention a college degree. He will go into his final semester next year needing only six credits to earn a degree in electronic communications.
Like his teammates, who are preparing for a 10-day, two-game trip to Spain on Aug. 5, Davis has devoted his summer to getting better.
“I’m not addicted to the suffering of training,” Davis wrote on Twitter on July 14. “I’m addicted to what the suffering through training brings.”
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Like his teammate, Kendall Pollard, Davis has suffered not only because he’s running hard and lifting weights but because he’s coming back from offseason surgery. Davis had a torn ligament in his middle finger repaired April 1.
“I’m slowly getting myself adjusted to everything,” Davis said Tuesday, “shooting and getting up and down the court with the team. I think the thing that sucked the most was sitting down with the doctors and talking about recovery time. When can I get back on the court? When can I touch the ball? This was the second year I had offseason surgery and really couldn’t do that much.”
Davis had wrist surgery in the offseason between his freshman and sophomore seasons, so he’s been in this situation before. When he couldn’t lift weights with the injured hand, he still spent time in the weight room lifting with one hand.
“I was out for two months this year and then slowly started back but couldn’t full go because my hand was swelling up a bit,” Davis said. “I had to slow it down.”
Now the hand is doing great, Davis said. He takes care to make sure it stays that way. If the team practices or works out three times in a week, he’ll go twice and then take the third day off.
Davis played through pain at the end of the season. It didn’t affect him much unless he bumped the hand. The injury happened in practice. He was guarding Charles Cooke and caught an elbow on the hand. Players jam fingers all the time, but this was different.
“It was an out-of-the-blue elbow,” Davis said. “We both heard the pop but paid no attention to it.”
Davis averaged 8.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He and point guard Scoochie Smith were the only players to play in all 33 games. Davis has played in all but two of 106 games in his three seasons. The Flyers are 78-28 in that span.
Davis has improved his numbers across the board in his three seasons. He averaged 2.1 points per game as a freshman, 7.1 as a sophomore and 8.0 last season. He went from 0.8 rebounds to 2.8 to 3.5. He shot 7.7 percent from 3-point range and then 22.1 and 33.9.
Yet when Davis was asked what he wants to improve the most, he said, “I want to be able to help my team, to carry the team. Everyone wants more points. I just want to be a better leader.”