Wolfpack Look to Flip The Script on Wisconsin's Master Flopper

Brett Friedlander

Former Kentucky and Charlotte Hornets shooting guard Rex Chapman has a running gag on social media in which he posts .gifs of people and things colliding with one another and asking the question that has confounded basketball fans, coaches and officials since Dr. Naismith hung his first peach basket.

Block or charge?

It’s a question that will undoubtedly be pondered on multiple occasions Wednesday night during NC State’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup against Wisconsin at PNC Arena.

And if last year’s game between these teams in Madison is any indication, the interpretation could have a profound impact on the outcome.

That’s because the Brad Davison is in town.

Davison is a 6-foot-4 junior guard who averages 12 points and four rebounds per game for the Badgers. He’s a good player who is also a solid on-the-ball defender.

But those traditional basketball skills aren’t what has made him famous. Or in the case of the Wolfpack and many of the other teams he faces, infamous.

Davison, you see, is the nation’s premier flopper.

He is to feigning contact and throwing himself backward onto the floor what Grayson Allen was to tripping -- a master of his craft.

He did it so many times in Wisconsin’s 79-75 win against State last season that ESPN spliced them all together in a mix tape compilation video.

Davison drew five charges in all against the Wolfpack, including one on an egregious flop against Markell Johnson that deprived the State an opportunity to tie the game with under 18 seconds remaining.

“I don’t know if you go back and look at that tape, I think he sold the referee on a couple of those charges that he drew that were questionable,” Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said Tuesday when asked about Davison. “But certainly we’ve moved on. We’re not going to concentrate on that. We’re going to try to do better and not run over guys.”

That last sentence was said with a smile and dripping with sarcasm. Keatts wouldn't bite, though, when asked if the home crowd that can sometimes sway the way officials on 50-50 calls might help turn some of those charges into blocks this time around.

There is, however, one thing that might serve as a deterrent to Davison's flops.

It's a new rule, instituted this season, designed to eliminate flopping. It's treaded in the same way as a delay of game call.

The first offense results in a warning. The second is a Class B technical foul that results in a free throw for the opposition.

Already this season, Davison has been warned twice -- in back-to-back games (both losses) against Richmond and New Mexico at last week's Legends Classic in Brooklyn. Keatts said he wouldn't be adverse to seeing a few of those calls made in Wednesday's game.

"I hope there's a lot of this going on," the Wolfpack coach said, moving his hands forward as an official would in the case of a player faking a foul. "That's the new flopping thing." 

Keatts did acknowledge that Davison is "a good defensive player" and the Badgers as a whole are a a solid defensive team and always seem to have their players in the right place.

As such, he said that his team needs to concentrate on doing "a good job of moving the ball and putting ourselves in situations where we don't draw charges. ... Hopefully we won't get those calls."

Just in case, Keatts said he's been working on avoiding charges with at least one of his players over the past few days in practice.

"We have with Devon Daniels," Keatts said of his junior guard. "When you look at him last year, a lot of teams drew charges on him because he's a one-leg leaper. So we have done a lot of stuff this summer and at practice making sure he goes off two feet and (avoids) the contact."

Other than that, there hasn't been much mention around the Wolfpack about last year's game.

According to Keatts, it's not necessary.

"I have to remind my staff all the time that kids don't think the way we do," he said. "Everybody's asking me 'Well man, are these kids so excited about playing Wisconsin again because they remember last year?' And I'll tell you no, kids don't remember last week. As coaches we do. But I think the kids are excited because we have a good opponent. They're excited to be back home. But I don't know they're getting pumped up just because of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge."