Devo Davis, Arkansas native, deserves to go down as an all-time Hogs great

Devo Davis had to choke back his words in his post-game interview on CBS. Moments earlier, his coach, Eric Musselman, said Davis was like his son. He loved him.

Davis, a native of Jacksonville, Arkansas, had his best game of the season Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He scored 25 points, including 21 in the second half, as the Hogs rallied to beat the defening national champions, Kansas, 72-71.

Davis said in the interview he was crying because of all the work he had put into the season. It was on display all year long and maximized Saturday.

Davis began the season his usual way, as a defensive specialist. He’s so good defensively, Musselman has called him the best on-ball defender in the college game. But when SEC play began and the Hogs were without Nick Smith Jr., the nation’s No. 1 recruit, Davis had to shift gears into becoming a scoring guard.

He did that just fine, too, scoring double figures in 13 of 15 games from late December to mid-February. When Smith returned around that time, Davis went back off-ball, only eclipsing 10 points three times after Valentine’s Day heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Against Illinois, with Smith healthy but going 2 for 10 from the field, Davis dropped 16 points in Arkansas’ 10-point win. Smith was off again against the Jayhawks and Davis acted like he had been there before. Because he had.

Davis has been a starter since he arrived on-campus, but always overshadowed by recruits and incoming transfers. All that changed this season. Sure, Smith is the NBA Draft lottery pick, probably. Council is the team’s leading scorer.

But the post-game interview spoke volumes. The state of Arkansas always loves its native sons. And no matter what happens next week in the Sweet 16, Davis will have a place in the hearts of the Natural State forever.

Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire