For two decades Bob McKillop worked to build Davidson basketball into a program that matters and is respected and is part of college basketball’s national conversation. He did that. He did it, always, with a team-first philosophy, every player playing his role, one five beats five ones, BALANCE.
The irony heading into this year, then, was that it ultimately took the emergence of one brilliant kid.
It doesn’t play that way in McKillop’s head, and not in Stephen’s head, either, and not anywhere in that little locker room in Belk, and it shouldn’t.
But being a part of the national conversation means you lose a good deal of control over who tells your story and how.
And it felt, sort of, at least to me, like some kind of line had been crossed, or was starting to be crossed, with Stephen’s 44-point game in the loss at Oklahoma. The one-man-team talk was getting louder.
Stephen is the show.
He’s a good show even on a bad night. On most nights he’s a great show. And on transcendent nights? Davidson wins tournament games.
The hope, though, is that it never turns into show for the sake of show, at the expense of sport. That it doesn’t go sideshow or freak show.
It’s the difference between a concert and the circus.
The zero game.
What it did, in retrospect, was offer a clear answer to anybody who had started to wonder:
Points or wins?
Show or sport?
Concert or circus?
Here’s what Jimmy Patsos ended up doing: He helped shift the national narrative back to where McKillop and Stephen and the team and the program and really the college as a whole had wanted it to stay all along.