Seth Davis is unquestionably the most fortunate man on our planet. Each and everyday he wakes up, goes to work, and makes you just a tad bit smarter.
As Sports Illustrated’s lead college basketball columnist, Davis possesses about as much freedom as a seventeenth century monarch. When he writes, he does so not only to inform or educate; he aims to inflict joy into his readership.
Davis’ style is unlike any other basketball columnist that I have seen before. His devotion to draw connections from different eras of the game brings his analysis full circle. He refuses to just tell his audience his insights. He would much rather take them on a roller coaster ride and allow them the opportunity to explore his analysis in a passenger’s seat. Seth is not just a great analyst; he is an incredible storyteller.
Most of the time when I read sports columns, I am smothered by statistics. After suffocating me with data, the author typically begins to outline a central idea to his/her narrative. Most of the time this is what I want. But, every now and then a pitcher needs a curveball. That is precisely where Davis struts in.
Seth Davis attacks his narratives from a multitude of perspectives. Unlike most of his colleagues, Davis uses historical trends as well as current events to capture ideas. For example, in a piece on the rise of senior leadership in college basketball, Davis noted how younger players were no longer the focus of the sport. However, ironically enough, Davis was able to frame the rise of seniority as a revival of our youth.
“So let us savor this senior moment, because it won’t last forever. These four-year players and their old-school games are making college basketball feel young again,” Davis writes.
His ability to manipulate ideas and construe them in an unconventional manner is second to none. But, believe it or not, Davis’ remarkable talent for wordplay is not where my strongest admiration of him lies. I love Davis because he is not afraid to hold back. His “brutally honest scouting reports” reassure me that his work remains free of bias. The Duke University graduate has countlessly criticized his alma mater for their play on the hardwood. There is a level of comfort present when reading his work that just is not evident among any of his colleagues.
While I do emulate many of Davis’ stylistic choices such as his affection for wordplay and his use of historical events as metaphorical concepts, I am still my own writer. Therefore, Davis and I are unlikely to maintain the exact same stylistic choices across the board. I would probably offer my opinions very early in the piece whereas Davis likes to make his audience work to find it. I feel that many times it is more beneficial to keep the reader afloat and on the same page by ensuring that they understand your stance from the start. Also, unlike Davis, I will most likely avoid wide characterizations of players. Sometimes when reading his analyses, it seems like he likes to paint a picture on a student athlete in a particular regard. While this does enhance the reader’s connection to the story, I fear that it might not accurately reflect the player of conversation.
One way or another, by absorbing many of Davis’ writing habits, I will one day be sitting in on a throne just like his. Only it will be mine.