Raps' Davis buying in bulk

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:19 PM ET

Ed Davis, like just about every rookie who has ever had the good fortune to play in the NBA, has had more than his fair share of first-year tribulations.

There was the knee injury in the pre-season that pushed back his NBA debut a month and some later than it should have been.

That was a little beyond what most rookies deal with.

Then there were the normal rookie feelings of impatience as he bided his time for significant minutes to arrive or the feelings of despair as he came off the court wondering how he was ever going to compete against the sheer size and volume of experience that he was facing each night.

All of those experiences, including the knee injury, are going to make him a better player in the long run.

From head coach Jay Triano to assistant coach Alex English to strength and conditioning assistant coach Francesco Cuzzolin, there are plenty of people in the Raptors employ there primarily to make sure Davis develops as he should.

And to a man, they are all seeing things progress as they believe they should.

Already Davis is showing a knack for making himself large as opponents get to the basket. His rebounding and blocking skills are probably the most advanced of his skill set. He is a tenacious rebounder on the offensive boards as well earning putbacks and tip-ins on a nightly basis. Slowly but surely hes beginning to shoot the ball with some confidence.

But in order to play in the NBA and be effective at the power forward position Davis will one day own, size and strength are a must. At

6-foot-10 and 225 pounds right now, Davis is considerably undersized at the position.

The injury a meniscal tear in his right knee in mid September as disheartening as it had to be given the timing of it, was, in Cuzzolins opinion quite possibly a good thing because it opened Davis eyes to what he needed to do to not just to be in the league but to excel in it.

The injury was the key moment for him, Cuzzolin said. Without injuries you cant spend so much time just thinking about yourself. He was outside the court, watching games, watching practice and seeing how the others were, comparing them to himself.

In that time, Davis came to realize what still had to be done. The work away from the court, in the weight room and even at the dinner table in order to add the kind of good bulk he needs to be competitive with the veteran big men who dominate the league.

Its something the entire coaching and support staff had been telling him but something that really hit home as he rehabbed that injury.

In short, Cuzzolin believes Davis developed the proper mindset in that month and a half as a spectator and he thinks it will serve him well the rest of his career. He helped and watched Andrea Bargnani go from a skinny seven-footer to a solid 250 pounds and believes Davis can do the same.

I think it will take him a couple of years to become really competitive but with his mindset, he can reach his goals, Cuzzolin said.

Davis said he expects to add another 10 pounds this summer.

Since I was in the ninth grade, my summer plan was to always continue to get stronger and put on weight. But its not all about just seeing how much weight you can put on because I could put on 25 pounds easily if I wanted to, Davis said. Its more I want to put on weight, be solid, still be able to move and jump and not put so much wear and tear on my knees. I just want to come back with low body fat, in shape, and not just get big.

Eds father, Terry Davis played 10 years in the league. As a freshman he weighed in at 225, but his playing weight through the majority of his career was between 250 and 270 pounds.

The younger Davis says ideally hed like to get to 245, but admits hes leery of bulking up too much having read how Chris Bosh bulked up over the summer two seasons ago as a Raptor and came back feeling less explosive, less quick. Bosh says he has since dropped some of that bulk and regained that quickness.

Davis figures it will take him two to three years to get to what he considers his ideal playing weight.

Hell put the time in the gym without a problem he says, but admits the prospect of eating five, six or even seven meals a day to fuel those long gym sessions is a bit intimidating.

To find the time to eat six meals a day when youre in the gym from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is tough, Davis said. The weight room part you can push through that. Thats the easy part.


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