Jan. 29, 2008
Chester native Devan Downey sat the bench last year as a transfer from Cincinnati, where he made the All Big-East Freshman team, and watched All-SEC first-teamer Tre' Kelley lead the league in scoring, playing against Kelley on the scout team all season. Downey credits Kelley often for helping him improve his overall game and everyone in the SEC is starting to recognize him as one of the best players in the league (see below).
Prior to the 2007-08 season, Rivals.com named Downey the top impact transfer in the country. He was also a Cousy Award nominee. So far Downey is living up to his billing.
He leads the nation with 3.5 spg for the second week. Downey picked five pockets at Vandy, six at Arkansas, four vs. Florida and three at Kentucky. The single season school record is held by Chuck Eidson (2.91 spg in 2000). Eidson is also No. 2 on the individual season list with 2.46 in 2002.
Eidson holds the career school record with 272 steals for an average of 2.42 spg from 2000-03. Closest to Eidson for the school record during a career: Barry Manning averaged 1.84 spg from 1988-92. Downey is averaging 2.8 spg in his career after averaging 1.91 spg his freshman campaign at Cincinnati.
Downey leads the SEC in scoring in SEC games (24.5 ppg) and also leads all games stats with 20.1 ppg. Downey has started and scored double figures every game this season. He has scored 20+ in nine games, including each SEC game this season (5). He has scored 22 plus in every SEC game this season, including an SEC-high 28 points, going 9 of 11 from the free throw line in teh win at Arkansas
He is playing the second most minutes in the SEC and is third in assists.
Here's what a few SEC and ACC coaches and players have said about Downey this season:
Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan
"I think Devan Downey might be the fastest guy in our league. Downey to me is a guy that gets steals. He disrupts defensively in the passing lanes. He's got really good three-point range. He's got a mid-range game. He can get to the basket. He's a hard guy to guard. Without question, he's one of the best guards in our league, and I think one of the best guards in the country."
Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings
"He has such good body control. We tried to stop him, but he still got most places he wanted to go. He's a great player with the ball, as tough as anybody in the league to keep in front of you as a defender. He can shoot it. He can pull up. He can get to the rim. He's a great layup shooter, as crazy as that sounds."
Kentucky Head Coach Billy Gillispie
"He really knows how to play; he plays hard and is intelligent; he knows how to set up other players. He knows how to get his own shot and get to the foul line. Defensively, he is leading the country in steals, and he really knows how to anticipate and read people's eyes. He's an outstanding player, but it's not a one man team as good as he is. He is one of the better one-on-one guards I've seen in the last few years."
Arkansas Head Coach John Pelphrey
"I thought Devan Downey was fantastic. We knew coming through the door this young man was un-guardable by yourself. He made all his free throws, made a couple of really tough shots. He's a good player."
Arkansas Center Steven Hill
"Devan Downey has a lot of heart and a lot of character. He is definitely one of the best players in the league."
NC State Head Coach Sidney Lowe
"Devan Downey (is) a guy that can flat out play."
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