CHICAGO — Wisconsin sophomore shooting guard Johnny Davis is a no-fuss kid with a no-fuss game.
Very good defender. Solid goalscorer. A dive-to-the-floor scrap shop. A deadly shot from medium range. Nothing too flashy.
When teams asked him an outlandish question about his personal life during NBA Draft Combine interviews in Chicago, Davis didn’t back down.
“They asked me what my ‘wild’ moment would be,” Davis said. “You can tell I’m in the NBA. And play against everyone who was there. I was just making sure I went through interviews with a clear head.”
Davis, 20, hosted his pro day on Saturday, despite not shooting or practicing, as part of agent Jeff Schwartz’s Excel management stable. The Knicks, who also interviewed him Thursday, were in attendance. Davis is in the Knicks’ zone with the No. 11 draft pick, but he has interviews ahead of teams including the No. 9 Spurs.
Davis said it was an honor to meet coach Tom Thibodeau, who, as a former Bulls star coach, can’t walk the streets of Chicago without being pulled over.
“It went really well,” Davis said. “It was nice to see familiar faces [in Thibodeau] and someone who has been part of the game for a while. He was amazing talking to after seeing what he has done with many teams. He is a very recognized coach in the league.
“I’ve heard from people he likes [me]’ Davis added. “So I’m hoping that I can fit in with them and they invest enough in me to draft me.”
Davis, whose father is former NBA player Mark Davis, also met with the Spurs. But he didn’t see coach Gregg Popovich, who is watching the EuroLeague Final Four in Serbia.
The Spurs could be the biggest threat to Davis, who falls to the Knicks, although some mock drafts bring Davis to the Pelicans as the perfect backup for No. 8 CJ McCollum.
“Obviously, I would love to play under Coach Popovich, the most famous coach in NBA history,” Davis said.
While defense is a calling card, Davis believes he can also be an explosive NBA scorer and is looking to emulate Devin Booker on offense. At the moment he’s a great midfield goalscorer who needs to improve his reach.
“Yes, Devin Booker. I don’t know him personally,” Davis said. “His strength and ability to score in a variety of ways. I don’t know much about him as a defender, but he’s coming up.”
No one saw Davis as a potential lottery pick as a freshman when he played a small role on a senior-dominated team and averaged 7 points per game in 2020-21.
But last season, as a sophomore, he was named Mr. Badger” – the featured type, and it caused his efficiency stats to drop due to the attention paid to him by the defense. Davis finished the race averaging 19.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists. But he shot 42.7 percent overall – 30.3 from 3-point range.
“It definitely doesn’t represent me,” Davis said. “I could have shot better from the free throw line – especially from 3. I thought I got a lot more competitive shots later in the season. Later in the season teams started targeting me more because of the success I had earlier in the season.”
Davis, who helped Wisconsin win a chunk of the Big Ten regular-season title, has an intangible spirit that analytics cannot capture.
“For Johnny, it all starts with his competitiveness, his killer instinct and his will to win,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said recently. “It’s at the top of his list of motivations. But he’s also had a full offseason in the weight room, aside from a few weeks with Team USA [Under-19 roster]. That helped add power and explosiveness.”
Davis is a twin and his twin brother Jordan played with him in Wisconsin. His father, a former small forward, played professionally for 13 seasons after being drafted by the Cavaliers in the 1985 NBA draft.
“[He told me] Just make sure to have fun, don’t push me too hard and think too high,” Davis said. “Just stay in the moment.”
When asked what he would be thinking about on June 23, draft night in Brooklyn, when his name is called, Davis said, “I’ll be thinking about my parents. You were able to put me in this position. You raised me into the man I am today. Everything I do is for her.”
https://nypost.com/2022/05/22/johnny-davis-enjoyed-his-interview-with-knicks/ Johnny Davis enjoyed his interview with Knicks