Anyone who has ever played sports has heard the phrase “there’s no ‘I’ in team.”As cliché as it is, this is true for most sports, including the game of basketball. Ball movement, chemistry and teamwork are vital to winning on the court.
Throughout basketball history, there have been duos that have landed themselves in the record books. Chicago Bulls legends Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
Utah Jazz duo John Stockton and Karl Malone. Lakers pair Shaq and Kobe. Here at the University of Tampa, there is a Spartan tandem that is quickly developing into a force to be reckoned with.
Senior guard Jordan Davis and senior forward Eugene McCrory have become a strong pair on the court for the Spartans so far.
Together, they make a solid one-two punch on offense as Davis can make plays from the perimeter and McCrory can score from the post and in the paint.
The two are pillars of the offense and the team relies heavily on their chemistry and experience.
This year is McCrory’s first at UT after transferring from the University of Central Florida, and this is Davis’s second year at UT. In spite of this, both Davis and McCrory have played college ball before.
Two years ago, during the 2012-2013 season, Davis and McCrory were both players on the College of Central Florida (CCF) basketball team. Together they guided CCF to a national title and McCrory was named tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP) while Davis was named team MVP.
“I still find it funny that we are teammates once again, but it feels just like old times when we are on the court together,” Davis said. “We have gotten better since then but we still know how to play well with each other.”
After their success together at CCF, they both went their separate ways, with McCrory going to UCF and Davis coming to UT.
Despite spending a year apart from one another, the reunited duo seem to be picking up right where they left off.
The offense goes through the both of them and together they have led the Spartans to a series of impressive wins this season.
With a strong Spartan lineup from top to bottom backing them up, Davis and McCrory have been efficient scorers, both averaging over 15 points per game.
As seniors, they are both highly experienced and their chemistry together has been the x-factor for the Spartans this season. “Our communication is very strong, some of it is verbal but a lot of it is unspoken,” Davis said.
“It’s weird, but we can look at each other and know what the other one expects to happen next.” While unspoken communication isn’t a rare occurrence in the teamwork centered sport of basketball, the communication between Davis and McCrory is unparalleled.
“Jordan and I are like brothers and that definitely translates onto the court,” McCrory said. “Jordan has vision like no other point guard and sees things three plays ahead. Playing with him for so long, I can pick up on those things and he keeps the team together.”
Like most traditional basketball pairs, Davis and McCrory complement each other excellently on the court due to their different play styles. Davis works well as a catalyst on the floor and his high quality playmaking ability is the driving force behind the Spartan offense.
He leads the Spartans with nearly seven assists a game and is shooting a respectable .364 from three-point range this season.
On the other hand, McCrory is a big man on the floor at six foot and eight inches and is usually the finisher under the rim for the Spartans. He is averaging close to 10 rebounds a game and leads the team in both points (17.2) and field goal percentage (.686).
Both are doing exceptionally well at the free-throw line and the team as a whole is excelling on defense. While Davis and McCrory lead the team in most categories, the supporting cast around them has been vital to the team’s success and the team is looking to make another deep tournament run.
But first, they have to get through their season schedule, which is toughening by the minute.
The Sunshine State Conference (SSC) is littered with talented teams and they are only improving as the season wears on.
However, McCrory and Davis have the utmost confidence that they can do here what they did together at CCF two years ago.
“Playing with Jordan brings back those days at CCF and the championship we won. Now we are just trying to make another memory with this team and win another,” McCrory said.
Marcus Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org