University of Memphis basketball player and East Hall grad Kyvon Davenport is no stranger to change.
Over the course of his four-year career, Davenport has played for two different schools and three different coaching staffs. The only constant for Davenport, it seems, has been success.
He has never fallen below a double-digit scoring average in college, and in his final year of eligibility for the Tigers this season, he leads the team in points and boards, helping to power Memphis to a 10-6 record.
So what’s Davenport’s secret to keeping his numbers up despite the constant change he’s experienced?
“You’ve just got to fit the role, fit the play style your coach wants to play,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to do what they want. If you fit the system, it allows you to play well.”
So far, Davenport hasn’t found a scheme he hasn’t fit.
After graduating from East Hall, he played two years at the junior college level with Georgia Highlands, where he averaged more than 15 points a game and was named a first team Junior College All-American. Davenport then transferred to Memphis, where he put in 13.3 points a game and paced the team in rebounding with a 6.1 average as a junior.
When Memphis replaced coach Tubby Smith with Penny Hardaway between Davenport’s junior and senior seasons, his stats never suffered.
It’s a testament to the versatility he’s prided himself on having since high school. According to Davenport, the ability to do everything at least serviceably well has been his biggest advantage throughout his basketball career.
“There’s just a big difference when you can be versatile and do a lot of different things,” he said. “Rebounding, blocking shots, being athletic — it allows you to fit a lot of systems when you can do that.”
Davenport’s diverse skillset has come as the result of hard work and dedication since his early years.
Former East Hall coach Joe Dix — who coached Davenport while he was with the Vikings — said it’s no surprise that the 6-foot-8 forward has developed into such a formidable player.
“He spends a lot of time working on his basketball skills,” Dix said. “It’s just a continuation of what he’s been before. He’s just gotten better and better every year, and I’m really not shocked that he’s improved a little more even from last year.”
Dix — who said he watches every Memphis game he can on TV and often calls and texts Davenport after games — added that bulking up has also helped the former Viking develop a more physical presence in the paint.
His perimeter offense hasn’t been too shabby either.
Davenport’s 44 percent 3-point shooting percentage is tops on the team among players who have attempted more than 15 shots from beyond the arc.
“I work on that a lot,” he said. “(Associate coach Sam Mitchell) really worked with me a whole lot with my shot, and I changed a couple things. I shoot a lot more outside of practice and stuff. It’s really made my shot a lot better.”
And while Davenport will run out of college eligibility after this season, he has no intention of his basketball career coming to a close anytime soon. He hopes he’ll make it to the NBA, but if not, he would settle for playing some overseas.
As far as Dix is concerned, Davenport has a chance.
“They used to call guys like Kyvon tweeners,” Dix said. “They didn’t know whether they were a guard or a forward or a post or whatever. But that day is gone. Kids like Kyvon Davenport who can do a lot of different things, a Draymond Green type of player, you’re seeing more of those type guys in the league. Kyvon fits that mold. He’s got a shot.”