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Trey Davis looks forward to expanded role with UMass men’s basketball team

University of Massachusetts sophomore Trey Davis passes the ball to junior Maxie Esho during preseason practice at UMass.

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO University of Massachusetts sophomore Trey Davis passes the ball to junior Maxie Esho during preseason practice at UMass. Purchase photo reprints »

AMHERST — After starting last year playing behind a guy who wasn’t coming off the floor much, Trey Davis finished the year proving he could be more than just Chaz Williams’ backup.

As he gets set to begin his sophomore year at the University of Massachusetts, Davis is more comfortable, confident and ready to contribute more. He’ll get the chance. In addition to being the Minutemen’s No. 2 point guard, Davis figures to spell Derrick Gordon at shooting guard and play alongside him in three-guard sets.

“Our best lineup might have Chaz, D.G. and Trey on the floor together,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “The more Trey keeps improving and elevating his play in terms of taking care of the ball and making the right decisions, I think he’ll be playing more and more. He’ll back up Chaz at point. Whether he comes off the bench or starts at that two spot remains to be seen. I’m comfortable either way.”

Davis, who was lightly recruited out of high school, showed signs of promise several times early in the 2012-13 season, but his minutes were inconsistent because Kellogg was hesitant to take Williams out of the lineup for long stretches.

But on Jan. 13th at Fordham, the first game following Jesse Morgan’s season-ending knee injury, Davis had a career-high 12 points and four assists without turning the ball over in 21 minutes. He scored several key points to help the Minutemen avoid an upset at Rose Hill Gym.

A combination of Morgan’s departure and increased trust from Kellogg, made Davis a much more important part of the rotation the rest of the season. He’s eager to build off of it.

The additional minutes “were late in the season, so I’m going to get right back into it,” said Davis, who looked more muscular after another offseason on campus. “I feel a lot stronger. My body is feeling great right now. I’m just ready to show what I can do and what we can do.”

One of the things Davis can do is consistently shoot the ball from 3-point range, a trait that makes him somewhat unique among his teammates after Freddie Riley and Terrell Vinson graduated, and Morgan was dismissed from school.

Davis’ sample size last season was small (12 for 27), but his .444 3-point shooting percentage was higher than any of his returning teammates.

“He’s probably our best shooter,” Kellogg said. “We’re going to have to find minutes for him on the floor.”

With Williams’ minutes unlikely being cut, Davis is prepared to play off the ball.

“I’m comfortable in both positions, playing off Chaz and D.G. I’m shooting the ball really well right now, that’s going to help a lot,” he said. “Right now, that’s my role. I’m going to fulfill it. I’m going to keep getting in the gym. D.G. and Chaz get into the lane a lot. The defense is going to crash in. My job is staying around the perimeter to knock down shots.”

Davis almost opened this season as the No. 1 point guard as Williams considered turning professional. Despite what would have been a been a significant bump in minutes and responsibility, Davis was glad to have his mentor back for another year.

“I was just waiting on his decision. I’m glad he came back though. It’s going to help us 100 percent,” Davis said. “I’m focused on playing with him.”

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

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