BYU basketball: Brandon Davies' NBA draft stock is rising
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
But that's all changed.
The 6-foot-9 forward from Provo earned Most Valuable Player honors at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament last month, grabbing the attention of NBA scouts and executives.
Now, several draft experts project Davies as a late second-round pick when the NBA draft takes place June 27.
As a senior, Davies cemented his legacy as one of the best big men to play for the Cougars. He ranks in the top 10 in 10 different statistical categories in BYU basketball history.
"I'm really happy for Brandon," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "His time here was one of the most successful times as far as winning games and postseason runs of probably any player that's been here."
Perhaps even more impressive, Davies dealt with a highly publicized, late-season suspension at the end of his sophomore year, just after BYU had ascended to No. 3 in the national polls.
While some thought Davies might leave the program after that experience, he returned for his junior season.
"His ability to get through a really tough situation at the end of his sophomore year, and face it head on and come back for his junior year and be as successful as he has — not only individually, but also his teams — shows his character," Rose said. "And the run we made this year in the (National Invitation Tournament) to get to the Final Four and play at Madison Square Garden, he played a big role in that. It's a great ending to an emotional, passionate story.
"He loves BYU. He finished his career in a way that he'll have a lot of BYU fans cheering for him throughout his professional career."
Davies is hoping to receive an invitation to the NBA draft combine in Chicago, which runs May 15-19.
Rose said Davies has a shot at playing in the NBA.
"I think that is a possibility. Right now he's put himself in a position where a lot of these teams want to see him. That's a great place to be. His first opportunity was to get to Portsmouth. And he took great advantage of that opportunity by playing well and being the MVP of the tournament. That has created a lot more excitement for teams to be able see him.
"The next step is to get invited to the pre-draft camp in Chicago. But what's really important is the team workouts. I really believe by the amount of attention that he got in Portsmouth, with teams wanting to interview him and talk to him, that there will be just as many teams that will want to bring him in and work him out. Then it's a matter of showing teams what you can do and what your potential is, and see where you fall in that draft.
"This year's draft is probably set up pretty good for a guy like Brandon because the last 20 or 30 or 40 picks in this draft aren't set in stone. There are probably 70 or 80 guys that could go in those spots."
Last month at Portsmouth, Davies averaged 20.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game and helped his team to the PIT championship. That was after Davies played in the Reese's East vs. West All-Star game in Atlanta, where he led his East squad to an 87-81 victory over the West.
Based on his performance at Portsmouth, Davies' stock has risen considerably.
"He scored with quick and decisive moves in the post. He grabbed key rebounds," according to a report on NBA.com. "Perhaps the best part of his game was his unselfishness, as he routinely drew defenders in the lane and dumped the ball to his teammates for easy scores. Davies brought the full arsenal to Portsmouth, and left town having greatly enhanced his draft status."
NBA.com's Rob Reheuser praised Davies' play in Portsmouth.
“Davies didn’t have a whole lot of buzz coming into the tournament, despite turning in an excellent senior season, and you almost have to wonder why he isn’t higher on the list of seniors available in this year’s draft,” he said. “If nothing else, he’s forced teams to take a much closer look.”
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