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Unknown caller boosts Illini's Mike Davis

It was just last week that everyone -- including DeMarcus Cousins himself -- made a big deal of Mississippi State fans getting ahold of Cousins' phone number and calling him repeatedly before Kentucky's showdown with MSU in Starkville. Cousins got the last laugh there, but it was a commonly heard story: player's phone number leaks, player deals with taunts for a few days, player and fan base move on. End of story.

Rarely do you hear stories like this: An anonymous caller dialed up Illinois' Mike Davis last week, and instead of taunting Davis or asking if his refrigerator was running, the caller was downright inspirational:

A concerned fan somehow got ahold of his number last week and called to offer words of inspiration. The two chatted. And Davis was so fired up that he went out and had his best game in a month with 16 points on eight-of-14 shooting and 12 rebounds.

“It was an anonymous call,” he said. “Someone just called and talked some sense into me and said ‘Get back to what you do.’ … This guy called just man-to-man talking and said ‘You have so much ability. Don’t let it go to waste. Don’t let it slip out of your hands.’ He’s been watching me the last two years and knows how I play.”

What's even weirder than some random dude calling Mike Davis -- and let's not be totally gullible here and assume it was someone Davis didn't know; maybe it was just someone Davis would rather not reveal -- is Davis picking up the phone, listening for the first five minutes, and continuing the conversation for the better part of an hour. This stuff doesn't happen very often. But hey, that means the next time a drunk Illinois student sees the Illini at Station and decides to give the team some unsolicited advice, there's at least a sliver of hope Davis isn't totally blowing that student off. There's hope yet.