(LEXINGTON, Ky.) – When Davion Mintz talks, people need to listen.
The graduate transfer from Creighton speaks with a maturity level far belying his years. In fact, he’s kind of like basketball’s version of Dr. Phil. The guy’s a bearded Dear Abby—dispensing practical advice and wisdom for all our wallowing Big Blue hearts.
Just the other night, Mintz was one of the stars of the game on the court. The 6’3” guard from Charlotte came off the bench to score 19 points in Kentucky’s 92 – 77 romp over Georgia. Mintz caught fire from the outside, hitting 5-7 three-pointers in just over thirty minutes of action.
But it was his performance in the postgame interview that caught everybody’s eye. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve interviewed guys who were far more polished (for example, Reid Travis) and engaging (think, Nate Sestina). There have been several UK players who—when you stuck a microphone in their face—were the life of the party (i.e., Tyrese Maxey). Even on this year’s team, there are a couple of guys who will talk your ear off (Oscar and Sahvir).
Davion, however, is different. There’s a subtle sincerity about his demeanor that forces you to listen intently, as if your life will all of a sudden change for the better if you hear what he has to say. The man exudes positivity all the time. Even during last year’s Covid-ravaged dumpster fire of a season, or this year when he was battling illness himself, his mindset never wavered.
So, let’s just sit back, relax, and take in what Dr. Davion has to say. I guarantee it’ll be the best therapy session you’ll receive all year. (The following questions have been inserted for instructional purposes only, but the answers in italics were actual Davion Mintz quotes from his postgame presser.)
Dear Dr. Davion, I’ve been busting my hump recently at my job, but no one seems to notice. I put in long hours and always go out of my way to help my colleagues succeed. All I’ve ever received in return is a diminishing paycheck and an expanding ulcer. I have feelings too. I’m not a robot. What did you do when everything seemed to be working against you? — Despondent in Dayton.
Dear Despondent: “Honestly, I just put my faith in God. I prayed and prayed about it, and I just kept working. All the signs God was giving me was to just keep working. Don’t stop. It’s the same thing—the game of basketball teaches you so much about life. You can be putting in so much work and sometimes things just don’t go well for you. But if you just stay faithful and committed to whatever it is you want in life, it’s going to click.”
Dear Dr. Davion: People call me a negative Nelly. No matter how well I do in school, there’s always some other student that seems to do better. It’s hard for me to be pleasant around others when I know life is just a big competition. How do you stay so positive all the time around people you don’t even like? – Pooping in Poughkeepsie
Dear Poop: “Just the way my parents raised me and my faith in God. You can’t be a sore thumb on a hand—you can’t be like that. I know if I’m at a place where I’m not my best and I’m leaking negative energy, that’s going to spread like a virus to other people. Even when it’s hard, you’ve got to smile and be happy for others even when it’s not the best for you because it’s going to be your turn and you’re going to be looking for others to clap for you when you’re doing well. That’s all I try to do.”
Dear Dr. Davion: My wife just left me. I have no friends, no job, and no purpose left in life. I’m thinking of getting a dog, naming it “Ghost” (just like yours), and hanging out at the beach. What do you think?” – Lost in Lexington
Dear Lost: “When I got ill, [that was when] Ghost left. He was still gone during that period when I was still struggling. He came back just recently—like a couple of weeks ago—everything has been uphill. I think he’s the secret sauce to all of it, honestly. It’s been great with him around. He makes everything easier. He’s probably the reason I’m playing well.”
Now there’s something I can personally vouch for. If that’s not solid advice, then I don’t know what is. When all else fails, get a dog. Man’s best friend is all you’ll ever need to get through the storms of life.
So says Dr. Davion.
Dr. John Huang is a columnist for Nolan Group Media and editor-in-chief of JustTheCats.com. If you’re in search of some practical life lessons, be sure to check out his new book, KENTUCKY PASSION.