Brad Davison is by far the loudest member of the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team.
He could be heard in a full Jersey Mike’s Arena, ordering sophomore forward Steven Crowl to turn on the ball screen and guard Rutgers’ Clifford Omoruyi. Davison learned his lesson after getting stuck guarding Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson, so he wanted to help Crowl – who said he struggled with ball screens – to make sure the 6ft 4in Davison did not have to defend the 6-11 Omoruyi.
Davison could be heard sitting on the bench as he fouls Purdue yelling at freshman guard Chucky Hepburn when Jaden Ivey lost control of the ball.
“He’s a coach on the court,” UW assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft said of Davison. “He’s really loud and communicates really well, announcing plays and helping guys. Sometimes he keeps the guy in the corner and he tells the guy on the opposite wing what’s coming. If it wasn’t so loud, no one would hear. We hear it on the bench. I know people have said, especially last year, that you can hear it on TV all the time. It’s quite funny.
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When Davison started having conversations about possibly returning for a fifth year, he told the coaching staff he wanted more from his COVID-19 year. He has expressed interest in coaching since his first season and said he probably would have tried to get a graduate assistant position on a team if he hadn’t had the extra year of eligibility given to athletes by the NCAA.
But coming back to play was the ideal situation. He just wanted the opportunity to learn about coaching, attend coaching meetings, and be more than just a player for UW.
No one had any objections. Krabbenhoft said he saw Davison’s coaching potential when Davison was just 13 years old. Krabbenhoft was recruiting Davison while he was in his previous job at South Dakota State at the same time the Badgers were recruiting the now-senior guard.
“You can just tell by the way he played the game, the way he spoke to his teammates, the way he led, the way he interacted with us,” Krabbenhoft said. “When I came here as an assistant, the way he communicated and interacted, the questions he asked and the things we talked about – not your average rookie. As it grew here in Wisconsin; this year has been important for him to come back and not just be a player. To say he is an extension of the coaching staff on the pitch is an understatement.
It’s not common for players to attend coaches’ meetings, but Davison has been a fixture at meetings since returning to campus last summer. He’s been a fly on the wall, filling notebooks with everything from recruiting and scouting reports to a playbook.
Davison sometimes sits in all the coaches’ offices — Krabbenhoft, assistants Dean Oliver and Sharif Chambliss, even coach Greg Gard — discussing game plans. Krabbenhoft said Davison always picks his brains, but the four coaches often bounce ideas off the 22-year-old as well.
Sometimes it’s even during practice, like when Gard and Davison looked at a clipboard at the end of a recent practice.
“I wanted to play more of a role where I could see what it was like on their side,” Davison said. “So whether it’s going to meetings about recruiting or scouting reports, or X and O or strategy or whatever, I’ve really enjoyed learning from the coaching staff.
“I’ve been around for a while so I’ve been through a lot where it puts me in a really unique position where I can mentor and teach young guys who may be experiencing things for the first time. C is something that I really enjoyed, just feet on the ground.As much as they could learn from me, I also learned from them every day.
Teams have a limited number of timeouts during a game, so Davison takes advantage of brief stoppages to get all five players on the field. He brought the other four players together to regroup and get on the same page after sophomore goaltender Johnny Davis committed his second foul against Purdue on Tuesday.
“He just knows the game and he wants to win,” junior guard Jahcobi Neath said. “He knows his X’s and his O’s. He almost knows the other team’s playbook better than them sometimes. He calls their plays as he crosses the half court. It gives clashes when we are on the ground. He knows what he’s doing. »
Davison’s favorite part about basketball isn’t the Xs and O’s, despite his extensive knowledge of them. He said it’s all about people, and that’s why he loves sports so much, because he can connect with people he might not have otherwise.
Davison sat on the bench next to Jack Robinson, a rookie Class of 2023 the Badgers were hosting ahead of the Feb. 20 game against Michigan. Davison spent at least 10 minutes talking to Robinson and his family.
“Basketball is always about the relationships you form along the way and the people you can do it with,” he said. “Wins and losses, Big Ten titles, points, records, 3-pointers, whatever it is, it all comes and goes, but people, relationships and memories, it’s do you have forever.”
Davison said he’s unsure what his next steps would be other than celebrating senior day before and after No. 10 UW hosts Nebraska on Sunday in the regular-season finale.
“These last five years have not only allowed me to have the opportunities that I have, but also made me the man that I have become,” he said. “I’m super grateful for that. I’m keeping my heart and my hand open to other opportunities that come my way. I’m keeping my options open to maybe keep playing, but I’d also like to see what opportunities are there. offer themselves to me to enter the world of coaches.