Can Illinois Fans Expect To See Mike Davis in the Starting Lineup Soon?


By Paul Schmidt

The title is self explanatory.  Will we, Bruce?  Though he didn’t say it outright, his answers during yesterday’s press conference after Illinois’ 72-70 win over Indiana spoke volumes about his intentions.

“Mike Davis has to change,” Weber said. “And, you know, I love him, he’s a great kid. But he’s got to come to practice every day and try to get better. He’s got to have a good mindset. If he does that, he’s going to be one of the best players in the league.”

Every one knows Davis has that capability…but he has to change?  And does that mean he’s not showing up to practice? 

“No, he never missed any practice,” Weber clarified. “He’s there physically…his body is there. Yeah, he’s never missed practice. Actually, he’s there more than anybody, and he’s there early, and he’s…he’s a great kid. But he doesn’t always go as hard as we’d like him to go.”

The most telling thing that Weber said about Davis was the staff’s intention about his playing time in a close game against a team that Illinois should have, quite frankly, been blowing out.

“Ironically, I think mentally our staff thought we weren’t going to play Davis in the second half today,” Weber conceded. “Dominique (Keller) came up to me — And to me, this is the part that’s real ironic, because they fight for time, and Dominique wants minutes — but Dom said, ‘Hey coach, Mike Davis is ready, and we need him.’ That’s pretty good for Dominique to do that because he always wants to play. So we gave him a shot and he made a blocked shot that no one else could make on our team. He made the basket, he made a couple of nice passes to Tis (Mike Tisdale). So, you know, at least he didn’t pout and he made some plays. Now we need to see if he can come every day and give us the intensity we need.”

Wow, so that’s what the issue is, it’s an intensity thing? And Davis wasn’t even going to play in the second half?? It did appear, during the first half, that Davis, when on offense, was sleepwalking through sets.

Even still, Weber was conflicted about what to do with Mike Davis prior to the game, and didn’t make the decision until close to game time. Complicating matters more is the desire to have a rotation where everyone has an idea of how many minutes they will see in a game, as opposed to the more random rotations that we’re seeing now.

“I went back and forth with the assistants, ‘Should I start Mike?  Should I not?'” Weber said after the game. “We held Demetri accountable (during his two game benching), and obviously it’s done something, so I’ve made one good coaching move all year. So, now, we’ve got to hold him (Davis) accountable.  And you know, we were good with Tyler (Griffey) in there. He’s done well, and he deserves it. He really tries and he works at it, and I’ve said all along that he’s going to be a pretty good player for us. And I like that he rebounded for us, that was really important early.  But it really would be nice to get an established rotation.”

In short, it looks like Mike Davis is going to need to earn his way back on to the court. And that he hasn’t done that yet.

Bring on the Tyler Griffey era!


  1. Paul Schmidt says

    Like I said, very telling. The staff and Weber are obviously frustrated with the lack of…je ne sais quoi…that Davis is showing. Now it’s a matter of either figuring out his role off of the bench or figuring out how to work him back into the starting lineup.

  2. paulmbanks says

    wow! what a regression…Davis has obviously been the biggest disappointment on this team this year. And that’s really saying something because DJ and BP and Tis have been letdowns themselves. I wouldn’t know what to do here…but it really looks like we are NIT bound. that 6-3 conf mark is all due to scheduling. I can think of 4 automatic losses in the 2nd half of the schedule, and a very likely 5th.

  3. paulmbanks says

    how does one bench the league’s leading rebounder? easily…when he doesn’t even try on offense anymore

  4. Paul Schmidt says

    I personally enjoyed the, “We weren’t going to even play him in the second half,” thing. I heard that, and my jaw dropped. So did everyone elses, for that matter.

  5. bill corcoran says

    Keep him on the bench until he wakes up out of the coma he is in. He needs to try all the time that he is in the game.

  6. hey buddy, looked who showed up on the comment thread….good to have you here! This MD needs a new prescription, and that is to get his head right, and realize that just getting a free education and coasting isn’t enough. Where’s his desire?

  7. Paul Schmidt says

    I thought you were going to say Mike Davis needs more cowbell…

  8. I got a fever, and the only prescription…..

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