Saturday, February 7, 2004

Catching up with ... Devin Davis

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Yes, he still has the dreadlocks. And yes, Devin Davis is still a fan favorite.

"That's why I've been here five years," the former Miami star said by phone from Lugo, Spain. "The fans, they know how hard I play. They know I'm giving 110 percent."

Davis, 29, is in his fifth season with a team called Breogan - his sixth year overall in Spain - after beginning his pro career with one season in the CBA (Idaho Stampede) and a two-month stint in the Philippines. He averages 13.0 points and 8.1 rebounds and was named one of the top 10 players in Spain the past two seasons.

Two Americans are allowed per team, and Davis regrets that his intensity isn't infectious.

"American and Spanish players, their outlook on basketball is different," he said. "We feel we have to do good, where it's not really no pressure for them. If they make a little money, they're cool, and it's a bonus to get a couple wins."

Davis' glam - dreadlocks and gold teeth - have never overshadowed his game. When Davis' 24 points and 15 rebounds helped Miami upset Arizona in the 1995 NCAA Tournament, Wildcat center Joe Blair famously offered, "Damn, that guy with the hair, he can play."

Finishing at Miami in 1997, Davis ranks third on the school scoring list with 1,828 points - just 19 behind No. 2 scorer Wally Szczerbiak. He led the team in scoring his last three seasons and averaged 8.6 rebounds for his career.

The native of Miami, Fla., still lives there during his four-month offseason, and he plans to work out for the Miami Heat this summer. But he said he makes enough money in Spain that anything in the NBA short of a guaranteed contract wouldn't be worthwhile.

Davis talks daily with his 8-year-old daughter, Devinique, who lives in Miami. He does the same with former Miami U. teammate Jermaine Henderson, who's now a RedHawks assistant coach. Davis said his monthly phone bills have ranged from $800-$2,000.

"Not having (Devinique) with me, it gets more difficult," Davis said. "But I really know why I'm here: to take care of me and my family."

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