Saturday, 05 August 2017 17:35

Overseas trip comes at key time for Davidson

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Davidson's Peyton Aldridge (23) hands the ball to freshman Luke Frampton as Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Bates Jones defend during the Wildcats' scrimmage Aug. 3. Davidson's Peyton Aldridge (23) hands the ball to freshman Luke Frampton as Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Bates Jones defend during the Wildcats' scrimmage Aug. 3. Justin Parker

Bob McKillop began conducting basketball clinics in Italy in 1981, and his overseas connections have only deepened over the years.

Davidson’s basketball coach will draw on many of those relationships over the next 13 days as his Wildcats embark Sunday on a summer tour that college programs can take once every four years.

While many programs utilize travel agents and tour hosts, Davidson does not. McKillop’s extensive network is more than enough.  

“I can call up somebody, and they can get us the best hotel rates,” McKillop said following the team’s public practice and scrimmage Thursday in Belk Arena. “I can call up somebody and they can point out the restaurants, the historical sites.”

The Wildcats will play six exhibition games and visit Piran, Ljubliana and Domzale in Slovenia and Treviso, Vicenza, Bormio, Sondrio and Milan in Italy.

“It’s an educational trip as well as a basketball trip,” said McKillop. “Our guys don’t get an opportunity to take a junior year abroad, so this is a snapshot of that. … It’s vital that they see a different culture.”

Former Wildcat guard Jack Gibbs said he enjoyed Ljubliana and Piran the most on the Wildcats’ 2013 trip, when he was a freshman. McKillop said Slovenia is “like a hidden gem.”

“Whether it’s the food, the ambiance, the culture, it’s extraordinary,” he said.

It appears to be a good time for the Wildcats to take such a tour, given the team’s reliance on Gibbs, the Atlantic 10’s top scorer, last season. This is the second Davidson overseas tour since incoming freshmen have been allowed to participate, and the Wildcats have three scholarship freshmen who figure to fill key roles this season.

Davidson’s freshman class includes guard Kellan Grady of Boston, guard Luke Frampton of Poca, W.Va., and guard Carter Collins of Chapel Hill, as well as walk-on forward Bates Jones, who played at Charlotte Latin.

“I like the framework that they have, the size, the athleticism, the skill level, the attitude,” said McKillop. “They need to be crafted where they fit with us, and they’re willing partners in that process. I think that’s going to happen. I’m very encouraged by who they are and what they represent.”

Grady was widely regarded as top-100 recruit nationally in the 2017 class. A 6-5 combo guard, he’s about as versatile as players come.  

“Kellan can do it all,” said senior forward Peyton Aldridge. “He can slash, he can shoot and his height I think is going to be really beneficial for us on the defensive end.”

Frampton is known as a pure shooter, drawing some early comparisons to former Wildcat guard Brian Sullivan, but with more height (6-5). His high school team was the Poca Dots.

“When he’s knocking down jumpers, he can be a really good player for us,” said sophomore guard Jon Axel Gudmundsson.

Collins is a 6-3 combo guard and left East Chapel Hill High as the program’s career scoring leader.

“Carter’s really athletic and really quick,” said Aldridge. “I think he’ll be a great defender and just a great slasher. He’s developing his jumper.”

McKillop said the 6-8 Jones has been impressive early as well and may eventually fill a larger role than the Wildcats first anticipated.

Davidson’s roster includes players from five foreign countries. The trip will be an almost-homecoming for sophomore big man Dusan Kovacevic, who is from Novi Sad, Serbia, about a five-hour drive from the closest Slovenian tour stops.


Kuwik joins McKillop’s staff
Bob McKillop confirmed Thursday the hiring of Kevin Kuwik as director of operations. Kuwik comes to Davidson from A-10 foe Dayton, where he spent six years on Archie Miller’s staff.

“He’s absolutely brilliant,” said McKillop. “We hit a home run. Incredible hire.”

As reported by the Dayton Daily News, Kuwik has also coached at Butler and Ohio, as well as Christian Brothers (Tenn.) and Saint Michael’s (Vt.). He was a student assistant and senior class president at Notre Dame and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in mechanical engineering. Kuwik served 10 years in the U.S. Army and while at Butler took an 18-month leave of absence to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom, earning a Bronze Star.

He replaces Davidson alumnus Nick Booker, who spent last year at his alma mater before accepting an assistant coaching job at Eastern Washington.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Micah Odoom Wednesday, 09 August 2017 13:24 posted by Micah Odoom

    My cousin Carter practices EVERY DAY and I know that he will become a very great basketball ? player! He's an awesome guy and he always makes time to play with me. GO CARTER and I can't wait to see you play!!!!!!!!!!


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