By JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
MENDON, Ill. -- Lane Davis had the mindset of a post player. He just didn't have prototypical size.
One summer seems to have changed that.
Davis' growth spurt last summer -- he grew at least two inches -- and his commitment to developing a leaner, meaner physique is why the 6-foot-5 Unity junior center has gone from a part-time player to a focal point this winter.
He is averaging 13.9 points and 8.6 rebounds for a team hoping to be a Class 1A regional contender.
"It's made him a little bit more of an athlete," Unity coach Keith Carothers said. "He was a little bit of pudgy kid for a while there. So he's grown a little bit and leaned out, which has helped his athletic ability and helped his footwork.
"He's starting to be a little bit faster now."
And Davis still likes to mix it up underneath the basket like he always has.
"That mentality that you have to go up against everybody and score around them, not just hit jumpers and stuff," Davis said. "I have never been a big jump shot shooter, so I've always wanted to play close to the post. Then I grew again. I always wanted to be around the basket and play under the rim."
He wants to be challenged, too, especially in practice.
"If you're playing him weak, he'll tell you," Unity senior forward Andrew Doyle said. "He wants someone to step up and challenge him. ... Our posts get into it with each other during practice, but once the play is over, everyone is fine."
Part of it is they know they have to do the dirty work, especially Davis.
"I played with guys in college who were big guys and all they wanted to do was shoot. He's done a great job. He's always had good footwork in the post," Carothers said. "That's been a big benefit for him.
"He likes to move in there and beat up on guys a little bit. He's not incredibly physical, but he likes the contact. He's a football player too, so he takes that a lot on a regular basis. He can shoot the ball. We just haven't given him many opportunities."
When given an opportunity, though, he's flourished.
Davis was named MVP of the MVIT Tournament, leading the Mustangs to the championship by going for 31 points and 12 rebounds against Liberty in the semifinals.
"It's just been this last year that he stepped up and realized how good he is," Doyle said. "Our offense revolves around him when it has to. He practiced his scoring a lot and he keeps getting better."
There is one thing Davis wants to do in a game that he hasn't done.
Davis dunked for the first time in practice a few weeks ago, but hasn't found the right spot to do it in a game.
"There was an opportunity earlier this year, but I got nervous and thought I was going to miss, so I didn't do it," Davis said. "But yeah, I've been working on it in practice and I'm hoping to do it in a game. It would be awesome."