Seth Davis was fated to cover basketball, which is exactly what he's been doing for the last 20 years. He attended Duke University during the school's era of domination in the late Eighties and early Nineties and befriended Mike Krzyzewski. Conversations with the legendary coach and all those Final Fours only deepened his obsession. That's why he now scribbles a constant stream of stories for 'Sports Illustrated,' provides analytical insight for CBS Sports, hosts "The Seth Davis Show" on CampusInsiders.com (where he sits down with legends like Phil Jackson and Mack Brown), and is about to release his third book, 'Wooden: A Coach's Life.'
"You would think that, after all of these years in the business, I would become jaded or I would become less of a sports fan, but I feel like as I'm getting older I'm becoming more of a sports fan," he says.
His obsession with sports and writing – "In my heart, in my soul, I am a writer" – has made Davis something of an expert on his own competition: journalists who write about basketball. He gave 'Men's Journal' a peak into his library, highlighting the greatest books about sports ever written.
'A Season on the Brink'
Davis's favorite book is not a controversial choice. 'A Season on the Brink' is John Feinstein's magnum opus about the Indiana University basketball program's 1985–86 season and a psychological profile of controversial coach Bobby Knight. The book created a new genre: fly-on-the-wall descriptions of a single team's campaigns.
"He had the foresight and the ability to recognize that he had unique access to a unique human being," Davis says. "To me, that book is a textbook on the power of access, which you don't always get."
The book became a teaching tool to Davis – literally. Davis took a course at Duke taught by Feinstein in which the author assigned his own bestseller. Davis adds that although the book became popular in large part for detailing Knight's provocative coaching approach – "there was so much profanity" – Feinstein masterfully revealed "the man's humanity and his good sides, too. He really presented Knight in full."