LOS ANGELES - Information is so fluid and immediate and basketball has become a twelve month a year sport that it is extraordinarily rare to find a rising senior, particularly one that is considered to be a consensus top ten caliber player, that stealthily moves under the radar in America, let alone in its third biggest city, Chicago. And yet, that is exactly what occurred with the nearly 6’10,” 195 lb forward, Anthony Davis. He has exploded onto the scene through a combination of a late growth spurt, a decision to once again play AAU basketball, and the sheer frustrated determination to prove that he deserves to be considered amongst the best players in the nation, regardless of where he chooses to attend high school. With a reported 3.8 grade point average, the Perspectives Charter school star is now garnering interest from Duke and Harvard Universities. In a span of two months, the athletic shotblocker from MeanStreets has gone from being a relative unknown on the national level to being one of the most coveted prospects in the country. During this weekend’s Nike EYBL tournament in Los Angeles, Davis spoke with Blue Devil Nation about a variety of topics.
How do you feel about coming out of nowhere to being viewed as a potential top ten player in such a short amount of time?
It feels good, I mean, from not being known, to now when I walk into the gym people saying, “That’s Anthony Davis.” It feels good, you know what I’m saying.
I’m glad you’re enjoying it.
Yeah, man, it feels good.
Now, how do you stay humble and keep your eye on the prize?
Oh, I just come out and play hard everyday because, as quickly as it came, it can all go away. I just need to keep working hard, don’t get a big head, and stay humble.
What about the decision to play AAU ball again? How did you come to that?
Oh, well, at one of my home games in high school, Tai Streets and Carlton came over and saw me play. They asked my dad if I wanted to play for their AAU program. I said, “Sure, why not?” because I figured at least it might get my name out there. I went to the gym and played with their guys and I liked it. So, I was happy to be a part of them.
How about the decision to stick with Perspectives? I heard other programs were trying to, well, encourage you to leave [private] and knocking your competition.
Well, I mean I’ve been there since sixth grade and now they all want me to transfer or knock my competition and numbers. They say I’m hiding.
I like that. If you’re comfortable and you’ve now got the exposure, why do you have to leave?
Right, I mean these guys don’t say it to my face, but they all say I’m scared and all of that, but I’m committed to my team and apparently I’m not that scared if I’m coming out here and doing what I’ve been doing. You know putting up good numbers. I’m not scared of them. I’m committed to my team. If I want to leave, I can leave, but I don’t want them telling me what I should or shouldn’t be doing.
Now, how did you choose Perspectives in the first place? I know it’s a charter school.
Well, they had a good reputation for academics and small class size. So, my mom tried to get me in there. Then, in my sophomore year, things got a little hectic, you know what I’m saying it got real bad, but I didn’t want to transfer and start somewhere new in my junior year.
Having had that late growth spurt and having been a guard, do you feel that brings you a different perspective or advantage, from how you look at the court versus other big men, in terms of seeing the court as a guard views it and, as a result, being able to get open?
Yeah, definitely. Most big guys just pick a spot and stand there waiting for a guard to throw them the ball. They don’t know how to move and get open. They’re not looking for the right angles. I always try to be in the right place at the right time so that the guards can get me the ball in a good spot to either score or make another quick pass. I know how a guard thinks because I used to be a guard myself. I figure if I know what they’re going to be doing and how to get open, it’s going to make the game a whole lot easier.
Absolutely, let’s move onto recruiting. Which schools have offered you and which schools have expressed interest?
The schools that have offered me are Syracuse, Providence, Memphis, Ohio State, Illinois, and DePaul. The schools that have expressed some interest are Kentucky, Louisville, and Duke.
What position are most schools recruiting you for?
Mostly the 3/4.
What’s your go-to move at this point?
If a big man is on me, I like to take him outside and either shoot right over him or break him down off of the dribble. If I got a little guy on me, then I’ll take him on the block. I really don’t have a move down there, though. Whatever way they’re playing me, I try to figure out a way to be effective against it.
How tall are you now, 6’8″ or 6’9?”
I’m 6’10.” It all just came together at the right time.
Are you looking to add strength?
Yeah, I’m definitely looking to add strength so I can be more effective around the rim.
Do you have a gym that you work out or lift at nearby?
Yes, right near me.
Who are some people that you will seek guidance from, whenever you do decide on a college?
Probably Evan Turner.
Another Chicago kid.
Yeah, I mean he was another kid that was somewhat overlooked coming out of high school and he was from my area. He was Westside.
What are you looking for ideally in a college?
First of all, they’ve got to have my major, a good basketball program, a good environment, and not really a rural environment. I’m more comfortable in an urban environment.
What are you hoping to major in?
What would you like the audience to know about you away from the court?
That I’m a funny guy.
Who’s the best player you’ve faced so far?
I’ve got to say Wayne Blackshear.
Yeah, I saw you guys go head-to-head. I thought you got him in that particular game.
Who do you try to model your game after?
When do you hope to decide on a school?
I’m not absolutely sure, but it’ll be right before my school year or right after my school year.
Why do you think that you fell so under the radar?
I think because I went to a really small school, like a hundred kids, and didn’t play any of the so-called big competition that nobody noticed. I’ve been proving for the last month that people should’ve been paying attention to the numbers I was putting up.
What do you bring to a program?
My defense and my mid-range game. Big men think, oh well, he can’t hit that or they don’t want to be taken off of the dribble.
What do you need to get better at?
I need to lift. i need to get stronger. I’m about 195. I need to get like 220 to 225 before the school year starts so..I just need to get stronger.
Have you taken any visits unofficially?
No, nothing serious.
Do you have any planned?
I might check out a couple pretty soon, but nothing’s planned.
You mentioned before that Duke had started to express some interest in you. If they start pursuing you more seriously, will you start to look at them more seriously?
Yep. Yes, definitely.
I don’t know if you follow college basketball, but what do you know about them from afar?
Yeah, absolutely, they’re a good basketball program. I watch them a lot. They just won the tournament this year. They’re a good basketball program and academically too. They’re one of the top academic programs in the country.
Thanks, Anthony, for your time. Keep playing hard.
Absolutely, thank you. [/private]