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WATCH: Texas coach Shaka Smart discusses Eric Davis Jr.’s improvement

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Following early season struggles, Davis has turned up his game in last five contests.

NCAA Basketball: Texas at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Davis Jr. is becoming a playmaker for the Texas Longhorns basketball team in 2017.

Over his last five games, the sophomore guard has averaged 12.4 points per game, shot 47 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range. All of those marks are significantly higher than his first 18 games of the season.

Head coach Shaka Smart has been impressed, as per this Longhorn Network interview:

“Any time you go through challenges as a young man it’s something that is going to expose you to maybe a different line of thinking than you had before,” Smart said. “Let’s face it, for all these guys their mentality, our mentality for them is that we’d love to see them have unbelievable success all the time.”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.

“Sometimes when you have a good freshman year you maybe have the assumption that, ‘Now I'm a sophomore and I’m just gonna go kill it,’” said Smart. “For some guys that happens, but there is a lot of stuff that goes into that, and there are a lot of steps you’ve got to take between a solid freshman year and Buddy Hield.”

Davis ended up having a sophomore slump to begin the season. But with the season winding down he appears to have turned his performance around and is playing better and better.

“Eric, I think of late has come to realization of, ‘Hey, here’s what I’ve got to do. Here’s what my team needs from me, here’s what my coach needs from me.’”

Check out the video for the rest of the interview and Smart’s analysis of Davis.