Wisconsin second guard Jonny Davis said he would enter the 2022 NBA draft and forgo his remaining college eligibility by appointing an agent, he told Mallika Andrews on ESPN’s TODAY NBA show on Thursday.
“After taking some time off and discussing everything with my family and coaches, I decided to make a lifelong dream come true by going public with the NBA draft with the intent of hiring an agent,” Davis said.
Davis, ninth in the ESPN 100 Championship, was named Top Ten Player of the Year and the All-American Consensus after averaging 19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 34 minutes per game.
“This season has been an incredible journey,” Davis said. “People didn’t expect us this season, but the players in the dressing room and our coaching staff have always known that we have the potential to be a special team.
“With so many great teams and players in our league, it was obviously a huge honor to win Player of the Year, but winning the Big Ten in the regular season and playing in the NCAA tournament was so much better. I like to think that the NBA teams have seen a strong player. , competing on both ends of the field in every possession, who will do whatever it takes to help my team win. Every time I step on the floor, I want to be the best player.”
Davis led Wisconsin to the Badgers’ Big Ten with Illinois after losing at home to Nebraska in the final game of the regular season. The Badgers had a 10-point lead in the first half, but gave up the lead when Davis fell with a sudden ankle injury, which continued to hamper him into the postseason.
“I wasn’t 100%, but I felt confident that if I played we still had a great chance of winning the Big Ten Conference as well as progressing in the NCAA tournament,” Davis said. “I wanted to be there with my buddies to give her everything I had.”
Davis has reached the finals of some of college basketball’s most prestigious post-season awards, including the Wooden, Naismith, and Lute Olson Awards, which are presented annually to the MVP in the Men’s Division I Basketball Association.
Davis grew up in La Crosse, Wisconsin — 143 miles from Madison — and was nicknamed Mr. Basketball in the state. He was also a stellar midfielder and played alongside twin brother Jordan, a wide receiver. Jordan Davis is a reserve major on the Wisconsin basketball team.
Johnny Davis’ rise from a three-star high school recruit to the best player in college basketball has been a remarkable one. He was part of the USA Basketball team that won a gold medal at the U19 Basketball World Cup in Latvia last summer, but few expected him to emerge as a top 10 player after only a few months with the Badgers.
“Fitness Trainer [Greg] “Jared and my teammates have believed in me and given me the confidence and opportunity to play a much bigger role out of my freshman season,” Davis said. The United States last summer took my confidence to another level and carried it this season. I trust the work I have done over the years, and have been fortunate to work every day with my strongest defender, my twin brother, Jordan, as far as I can remember.
“I think NBA teams can learn that the path to the NBA is not the same for all players. I didn’t rank high in high school, and I went to Wisconsin to change the narrative surrounding our program. My dad always told me that production will always outperform potential. My focus will remain on playing hard and winning, and that has stayed with me.”
Drawing comparisons from NBA scouts to Jalen Suggs, the No. 5 pick in the 2021 draft, Davis’s rebounding, defensive versatility and solidity put him on the NBA radars early on as Wisconsin beat Houston to win the Maui race in November, with Davis scoring 30 points In the final and win the best player award.
He continued to carry the Badgers’ heavy scoring burden in the Big Ten, emerging as head coach of the ball for his team and one of the top pick-and-roll scorers and middle-level players in college basketball, while scoring 37 three-pointers and 155 free throws in 31 match.
“I know the pace and style of play in the NBA is different, but I think it fits my skill set very well,” Davis said. “My ability to have the defender, the physique and the strength to finish on the edge, and being a three-tier scorer along with extra spacing in the NBA will give me the opportunity to be successful.
“…I hope to effectively fill any role requested of me by my next team, which will hopefully lead to our team winning games. I ultimately want to be one of the reasons why an NBA team becomes a championship organization.”
The NBA draft will be from May 16-22 in Chicago, and the draft will be June 23 in Brooklyn, New York.
Jonathan Jevoni is an NBA draft expert and founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a proprietary exploratory and analytics service used by NBA, NCAA, and international teams.