Tuesday, January 27, 2004
By Matt Hooper
UA Media Relations
Talk about your success stories: Selma’s Chuck Davis has answered the call to arms for the University of Alabama basketball team. As a freshman last season, Chuck got to ease into the game, playing backup to Alabama’s big men, 2002 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Erwin Dudley and four-year starter Kenny Walker. While those guys got most of the playing time, Chuck got something invaluable---practice time every day with some of the league’s best players.
That exposure has paid off this season. The 2002 Southside High School graduate has gone from playing in a total of 13 games and scoring a total of 19 points and 17 rebounds for the entire season last year to full-time starter this season. Going in to Tuesday night’s home game against the Florida Gators, he’s already scored 180 points—that’s nine times his total output last year---for an averaging 11.3 points a game. And he’s pulled down 99 rebounds—almost six times more than he did all of last season. And not only is he making an impact on the Crimson Tide’s team, he’s making an impact in the league. He ranks among the top 20 in rebounding in the SEC this season!
Chuck took a moment out after practice on Sunday to share an inside glimpse of this Alabama starter.
Chuck, this has been a breakout season for you so far, beginning with your terrific performance against Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden in New York. What’s been the difference for you this year?
“I’ve gotten to play a lot more, I’ve gotten a lot more experience and that has really helped me. I went through a lot of things last season that have helped me prepare more for what’s happened this year. It might seem like I came out of the blue this season, but I worked really hard this past year to get to where I am now.”
You have been fortunate enough this season to play in two of the world’s most famous cities: New York and Las Vegas. Which one did you like best and why?
“I would have to say New York, you know, playing in Madison Square Garden was the biggest thing. It’s the biggest city in the country; it was just a great experience.”
What was so special about Madison Square Garden?
“The atmosphere was just great; we just really got to see what basketball was about. Really big gym, lots of people, it was a great experience and we played a great team (Pittsburgh).”
The debate over which is the best basketball conference is heating up once again. Who gets your vote and why?
“I don’t really know, I think every conference has its strengths and weaknesses. The SEC is a lot more physical though than a lot of others. Generally the SEC has more balance; you know, other conferences have the Dukes and the North Carolinas, the elite teams, but in the SEC on any given night, anyone can win.”
Coach Mark Gottfried had nothing but good things to say about the Alabama fans after you guys beat Auburn at home on January 17. Realistically, how much impact do the fans have on your team and the opposing team?
“They’re great. It’s good to come in here and know they are going to support you, whether you’re up or down. After the game they’re shaking hands, they’re happy to see you. It’s just a great experience to come in here; they get on opposing teams just as much as any fans in the country. Players might say that doesn’t get at them, but when they’re on you the entire game it really gets to you at a certain point.
Late in 2003, then-Cleveland Cavalier and current Boston Celtic, Ricky Davis, embarrassed himself by shooting at the wrong basket and collecting the rebound in order to get a triple-double. Think back and tell us your most embarrassing moment on the court.
“I think it was my first middle school game ever and I shot a lay-up at the wrong goal. That was probably my most embarrassing moment ever. I did make the shot though.”
What CD is currently playing in your car?
“Jay-Z, The Black Album”
What’s your favorite basketball movie and why?
“‘Blue Chips.’ It’s just a great movie, and I love those guys, Penny and Shaq, when they were playing together; they were my favorite two players at the time. It just shows how things happen on the inside at colleges and things like that. It showed everything that goes on, off the court and on.”