|Davidson's KiShawn Pritchett adjusts and adapts to help 'Cats|
|Swingman shifts from explosive to crafty|
|Published Saturday, January 19, 2019 7:32 pm|
|PHOTO | TIM COWIE|
|Davidson junior KiShawn Pritchett has become a more technical player after a series of knee injuries limited his explosiveness.|
KiShawn Pritchett plays in pain, but it doesn’t show.
The Davidson Wildcats junior swingman suffers from tendonitis in his left knee. He is not supposed to play more than 90 minutes a day, yet he is a starter for an elite Atlantic 10 program.
Pritchett’s offensive productivity in Davidson’s (13-5, 4-1) 75-62 win Saturday against Richmond (7-11, 1-4 A-10) was flawless. He tied his season-high 12 points against Richmond, shooting 5-of-5 from the field, 2-of-2 from three-point territory while doling out four assists and four boards. His career-high of 15 points came against George Mason last season on 6-of-7 from the field.
“The quickness, the explosiveness that was once part of his game has been taken away by his injuries,” coach Bob McKillop said. “His practice time is significantly limited. He is in pain all the time. For him to play at the highest level, he has had to slow down a little bit and really be much more focused on not exploding by people, but be crafty to get by people. You saw that tonight when they got the ball to him in the belly, and he craftily went to the rim a couple of times.”
Pritchett spends a lot of time riding a stationary bike and an elliptical for fitness. He has also shifted to a strength-oriented style of play rather than one based on speed.
“It has definitely changed my game a lot,” he said. “I feel a step slower when I’m playing. I have to find ways, like on closeouts, to anticipate a little bit. Play angles a little bit more. Be more assertive when it comes to attacking space, and then using my body a little bit more. I’m a lot stronger now than I was early on. I’m not using quickness as much as strength now.”
Said McKillop: “He has made an incredible, mature decision to say, ‘I don’t care what role I have to play. I don’t care how I have to play. I’m going to try to do what is best for this basketball team.”
Pritchett and freshman forward Luka Brajkovic work well off each other, particularly in the paint.
“Luka makes my job so much easier,” Pritchett said. “He is so skilled, and he has great footwork. He’s very unselfish. He has good touch.”
Said McKillop: “They do pretty darn well, especially, because both of them can pass the ball so well, and they catch the ball very well.”
Pritchett’s teammates crave more assertive from him as his game continues to evolve.
“We need him to be more aggressive,” junior guard Jon Axel Gudmundsson said. “He went 5-for-5. He should be more aggressive, and take more shots when he can, because he is a big body out there, and he is a mismatch situation.”
Said freshman guard Luke Frampton: “[Pritchett] takes good shots. He takes what the defense gives him, and that is really how he helps us.”
Pritchett did not play as a freshman in 2015-16 due to repairs to his left knee, which slowed his development at Davidson.
“My senior year of high school, I had microfracture surgery, in which I had a partially torn meniscus as well,” Pritchett said. “I thought I was going to be able to be able to play my senior year, but I ended up missing my entire senior year. Coming into here, my first workout playing with Davidson, my knee swelled up again. I had it scoped that summer, anticipating playing my freshman season. My first practice back, in October, my knee swelled up once again. They figured out that I had a quarter-size hole in my patella. I had a cartilage transplant in December 2015.”
Pritchett’s family moved from California—he was born in Vallejo—and now lives Mooresville, where playing at Lake Norman High exposed him to the Wildcats.
“Davidson recruited me a little bit my sophomore year,” Pritchett said. “I was local, so they kind of came to games. My junior year, they started recruiting me a lot more heavily. At the end of my junior year, they were really recruiting me heavily. I came on a visit. I loved the guys who were here. I loved the community atmosphere, how small it was—it’s such a good school. It’s in the A-10. I thought it was the perfect fit.”
While professional basketball is his endgame, Pritchett also foresees a future in writing and film.
“I’m a sociology major, but I like taking English courses as well,” he said. “I want to play professionally for however long I can with my knee, but afterward, I want to write. I also want to, it’s kind of weird, but [do video blogging], but also short film-vlogging, and turn my writing into short stories, and do something.”
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