LEXINGTON — Being back in Rupp Arena Saturday was special for Anthony Davis Sr. — and that was before Kentucky beat No. 11 Florida.
“It brings back a lot of memories just to be back in this Kentucky atmosphere rooting for the Cats again.¿It’s unbelievable,” said Davis.
Last season he seldom missed a game in Rupp Arena when his son, Anthony, was playing for Kentucky and leading the Wildcats to a national championship in a season when he swept most major postseason individual awards. He went on to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft by New Orleans and was on the Olympic gold-medal winning United States team.
“It was definitely a great experience coming back. Just to see these guys, coming back (today) ... Anthony wishes he was still here playing and misses being here, but he had to move on. But it is good to come back and see everybody,” Davis said. “I just wanted to come back and visit the Kentucky family. I¿miss them. Anthony misses them.
“I wanted to see a game and enjoy it I¿have kept up with them since day one this year. They are going to be fine. You have to believe that. They are young, energetic. They just have to come together.”
His son’s rookie season has been rocky at times mainly due to various injuries. However, he had 20 points and 18 rebounds in a game Saturday and another double-double Sunday.
“It has been a learning experience. He had a couple of injuries early on. We will just have to see what the second half of the season is going to bring him,” Davis said. “But he is getting a chance to play with guys he has dreamed about playing with all his life. You get to play with Kobe Bryant, LeBron James. He’s really enjoying that and having fun with it.”
His parents try to get down at least once every two weeks to see him play.
“He is still only 19 and misses home, so we try to get down a lot to see him play,” Davis said. “His mother misses him. She is not handling it well. She tries to get down a lot to see him, though.”
Davis said his son stays in touch with his former UK teammates.
“They are like brothers. They have a tight bond with each other. I don’t think nobody can break that up,” Davis said.
He’s not sure how often his son talks to UK coach John Calipari. “But I imagine they keep in touch. He thinks a lot of coach Cal,” Davis said.
Davis still remembers how nervous he was a year ago as Kentucky was poised to start its national championship quest.
“To see him come from high school and only win six games and come here to Kentucky and win a national championship, it was great for him. We really enjoyed the experience with him,” Davis said. “Those guys wanted to win so much. Once they all got together and forget all the all-star games and just the guys that were coming in and sacrificing for each other and not worrying who would score the most, they really wanted it. They talked about it during the McDonald’s All-American Game, but then to come out and win it was a blessing for all of them and us.”
It was enough of a blessing that UK’s Final Four MVP won’t ever forget his college roots.
“Without a doubt, he’ll be back here. I have no doubt in my mind. He loves it here. He will always be a Wildcat. He is a Wildcat from here on out,” his father said. “I¿knew he would come in and make a big difference here, but I did not he would come in and dominate his one and only year at Kentucky. We are proud of him.”
His parents will be even prouder when he eventually completes his college degree that his father says he will “most definitely” complete.
“He will if his mommy and daddy have anything to say. He will do it. Don’t worry about that,” Davis said.