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UMass backup point guard Trey Davis on fast track

  • JERREY ROBERTS<br/>Trey Davis of the University of Massachusetts shoots during practice Tuesday at Curry Hicks Cage.

    JERREY ROBERTS
    Trey Davis of the University of Massachusetts shoots during practice Tuesday at Curry Hicks Cage. Purchase photo reprints »

  • JERREY ROBERTS<br/>Trey Davis of the University of Massachusetts shoots during practice Tuesday at Curry Hicks Cage.

    JERREY ROBERTS
    Trey Davis of the University of Massachusetts shoots during practice Tuesday at Curry Hicks Cage. Purchase photo reprints »

  • JERREY ROBERTS<br/>Trey Davis of the University of Massachusetts shoots during practice Tuesday at Curry Hicks Cage.
  • JERREY ROBERTS<br/>Trey Davis of the University of Massachusetts shoots during practice Tuesday at Curry Hicks Cage.

AMHERST — Trey Davis knew from the moment he arrived that preseason would likely be harder for him than anyone else on the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball team.

As the No. 2 point guard, Davis’ to-learn list is long. He not only has to know what he’s supposed to do and where he’s supposed to be in any given situation, but where his teammates will be positioned and where they like to catch the ball.

He has to learn what the right decisions are and how to make them at high speed.

The UMass offense is designed around junior point guard Chaz Williams, who is as valuable to what the Minutemen do as any player in the country. He led UMass in scoring (16.9 points per game) and assists (6.2) last season.

Williams averaged 34.9 minutes per game last year, a total UMass coach Derek Kellogg would like to trim to make sure Williams is not only fresh at the end of games, but at the end of the season. Kellogg is counting on Davis to be good enough that when Williams leaves the game, things don’t fall apart.

“I’m going to put a lot of pressure on him early to see how he reacts in practice. I’ve already been pretty tough on him,” Kellogg said. “The point guard position in college is the toughest position out there. I’m trying to give him an early test and lesson to see how ready he is. This is big-time college basketball with big-time expectations on the point guard position.”

Coming out of Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, Davis originally signed with George Washington, but was released from his commitment when Karl Hobbs was fired. He committed to UMass, but couldn’t enroll because of an Atlantic 10 rule that prohibits a player, who signed a letter of intent with one school, from enrolling in another conference school in the same year. So Davis split last year between prep schools in Vermont and North Carolina.

Finally at UMass, Davis said he’s ready and eager. UMass opens against Harvard at the Mullins Center on Nov. 13.

“Knowing that I’ve got to play a lot, I’m trying to grow up early,” said Davis, who’ll also play some shooting guard. “My teammates have given me a lot of confidence. Coach has given me a lot of confidence. I think I’m going to be ready. It’s tougher because everyone around me knows what’s going on. I’m always the one looking around to see where I got to go next. It’s pretty tough, but I’m going to get through it.”

Williams has been fully invested in his understudy’s progress.

“Chaz is taking me under his wings and I’m going to listen to what he’s got to say,” Davis said. “Chaz is always talking to me. Anytime we’re on the court or on the sideline, he’s telling me what to do next, where I got to be, what position. All that stuff. I like him a lot.”

ACC PRESEASON POLL — Miami, which UMass will host on Dec. 1, was picked fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference preseason poll, which came out Monday. North Carolina State, which the Minutemen could face in the Puerto Rico Tipoff, was picked to win the league with eight of the 12 first-place votes. The Wolfpack, who has four starters back from last year’s Sweet 16 team, also got the league’s preseason player (C.J. Leslie) and rookie (Rodney Purvis) of the year.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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