LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Bellarmine men's basketball coach Scott Davenport doesn't believe in easing into things. The former Denny Crum assistant holds to his mentor's belief in playing anyone, anywhere. It's why his second-year Division I program is playing 3 top-10 teams away from home before the calendar even flips to December.
Davenport's Knights practiced Monday morning, attended class, then boarded a bus for West Lafayette, Ind., where they will open the season at 7 p.m. Tuesday against No. 7-ranked Purdue in Mackey Arena.
"They're really good," Davenport said by phone Monday night. "They're one of the teams that could win it all. It's a tall task, but our players are so excited. They only have standing-room and single-seats left for the game. They are big and powerful and talented and deep. I've never coached against a 7-4 player, and they have a 6-10 freshman and a kid who could be Big Ten player of the year coming off the bench, Trevion Williams. It's going to be a challenge, but we know they don't see many teams who do what we do, so we'll go in and give great effort, I know that."
Just how different Bellarmine is was illustrated in a video that hit YouTube this week. It's titled "The Team That Doesn't Dribble," and spends 12 minutes breaking down Bellarmine's offensive execution. The Knights were the only top 15 offense last season that wasn't heavily reliant on ball screens. Their cutting, passing style time and again is illustrated setting up in the half-court and passing 10, 12 times before anyone ever takes a dribble.
One graphic showed how Bellarmine averaged more passes per game than any team in the NBA last season – despite playing shorter games.
One comment to the post: "This is some of the most beautiful, team-centric basketball I've ever seen."
"It's kind of wild, we've had high school coaches from all over reaching out to us," Davenport said. "He had 52,000 views the day he put it up. I showed it to our players and they loved it."
And it could help in recruiting. It's nice to be on network television, but if you're trying to reach high school kids a YouTube video might go even farther.
Regardless, Davenport is excited about embarking on Bellarmine's second Division I season. The Knights won't play a home game until Nov. 28. By that time, they'll have faced Purdue, Gonzaga and UCLA.
Bellarmine went 14-8 in its first Division I season, 10-3 in the ASUN, where it finished second after being picked to finish last. This season, the Knights have been picked to finish third in the league by a vote of coaches.
Bellarmine welcomes back practically its entire roster from last year, including four starters – Ethan Claycomb, CJ Fleming, Nick Thelan and Dylan Penn, who was first-team All-ASUN last season and picked to repeat the accomplishment this year. The lone lost starter was Pedro Bradshaw, who departed with eligibility remaining and is currently playing for the Salt Lake City Stars in the NBA's G-League.
Tuesday's game will be streamed online by B1G+ with David Weiderhaft and Meghan McKeown on the call while Bellarmine fans can tune into 93.9 The Ville and the get the Knights radio call from Doug Ormay and Mark Bugg.
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