Johnny Davis declares for NBA Draft after breakout season for Badgers
MADISON, Wis. — After winning Big Ten Player of the Year and being named a finalist for National Player of the Year, Wisconsin Badgers guard Johnny Davis is deciding to take his chance at the NBA.
Davis, who averaged 19.7 points per game, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in a breakout sophomore season to help lead the Badgers to a Big Ten conference title, made the announcement Thursday on ESPN’s NBA Today.
Davis says he is hiring an agent, meaning he will be ineligible to return to college basketball.
Badgers head coach Greg Gard released a statement after Davis’ announcement, saying he and his staff are proud of Davis and excited for his future in pro basketball.
“He is one of the best to ever play at Wisconsin, and wearing that Wisconsin uniform meant a lot to him,” Gard said. “We’re grateful for everything he has done for this program and can’t wait to follow his success in the NBA.”
Davis, along with his twin brother Jordan, joined the Badgers as part of Wisconsin’s 2020 recruiting class. After being named Wisconsin’s “Mr. Basketball” during his senior season at La Crosse Central High School, Davis averaged just over 24 minutes per game as a freshman during the 2020-2021 season, averaging 7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
After his freshman season, Davis played on Team USA in the FIBA U19 World Cup, an experience he said helped him elevate his game to the next level while playing with — and against — some of the best young players in the world. It also helped him get noticed on a national scale — as did his performance in the Maui Invitational to start the 2021-2022 season, as he powered the Badgers past some tough early-season competition and led them to a tournament title.
Behind Davis, the Badgers enjoyed their best start to a season since the 2014-2015 team that made a run at a national championship, climbing into the Top 10 of the AP rankings. However, Davis seemed to struggle at times during the latter parts of the conference schedule as teams began to focus most of their defensive energy on him.
The Badgers’ season took a turn for the worst in their regular season finale at the Kohl Center against Nebraska, when Davis was injured on a flagrant foul and had to leave the game. Davis returned to the floor in the Badgers’ first Big Ten tournament game, but struggled as he tried to play through injury, shooting just 3-for-19 from the field.
Davis again struggled in the NCAA tournament as he appeared not to be completely healthy, shooting 8-for-20 in Wisconsin’s first game against Colgate and 4-for-16 in the Badgers’ second-round loss to Iowa State.
Despite the injury-slowed end to his season, Davis is generally regarded as a possible Top-10 pick in this summer’s NBA draft. CBS Sports projected Davis to go 6th overall to the Sacramento Kings in their most recent mock draft before the NCAA Tournament, but has also been tied to other teams who could possibly be in the Top 10, including the New York Knicks.
The official NBA draft order won’t be set until after the draft lottery on May 17, which will determine the draft order for the 14 teams that do not make the NBA playoffs. The 2022 NBA Draft will be held on June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
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