|"I'm mad as hell AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!"|Davante Gardner
, Marquette, Senior, 6'8 290lbs2013/14 stats:
26.6 mpg, 14.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.5 bpg, 1.3 apg, 0.3 spg, 2.0 fpg, 1.1 TOpg, 52.8% FG, 78.1% FT
Gardner has battled weight and conditioning issues in his entire time with the Golden Eagles. He is every bit the 290lbs he is listed as. Unfortunately, he is also every bit of the 6'8.
Being this zaftig has obvious benefits, particularly on offense. Gardner regularly gets into the paint and finishes with relative ease, a big scorer per minute and an extremely efficient one. With one of the best free throw strokes seen in a big man, Gardner will clatter into the opposing big man and take the contact, strong enough and with deft enough of touch to finish through the hit with either hand. He does so without committing too many turnovers, and uses his feet for step-unders and the like, demostrating good understandings of post finishing and offensive awareness. To complement these things, Gardner also shoots well from mid-range, an important weapon against the long and athletic defenders who can otherwise smother him at the rim. (Davante, it must be noted, does not jump.)
The size, of course, can be a defensive detriment. Gardner's rebounding rate is quite poor as he hasn't the mobility to attack the glass outside of his area, and a lot of the time, his defense involves standing in the paint with his hands up, as he has not the length or leap to protect the rim. He is not a complete stiff and does a better than may be expected job of defending the perimeter on switches, yet it is still something the opposition is always going to want to make him do. Gardner will always struggle to stay in front, often give up a foul in the process, and (perhaps most importantly) it tires him out.
As an upper classman, Gardner did in fact rein in these fouls and improved his stamina somewhat, to the point he is now (some inconsistency notwithstanding) a fairly reliable offensive presence. He can score with relative ease around the basket and kick it out from there to shooters, and while he cannot do much to stop the opponent doing the same, Gardner will score and better an offense wherever he chooses to play. That is all you need to make money. He will likely, however, forever be exposable defensively.