The draft talk. The prognostications. The mock drafts and the rampant speculation.
Brandon Davies does his best to stay away from it all. He hasn’t been reading the paper. He hasn’t scoured the Internet. With each passing day and each workout for seemingly every team in the NBA, he’s taking the most important process of his life with the smallest of baby steps.
Maybe this is because he isn’t supposed to be in this position. For BYU’s big man, Thursday’s NBA Draft was supposed to come and go without a phone call. Yes, he would probably get invited to a summer league. But when his BYU career came to an end in March at the NIT, Davies wasn’t on the draft radar.
“I wasn’t even in the picture a couple of months ago,” Davies conceded.
A trip to the Portsmouth Invitational changed all of that. At one of the premier postseason showcases for outgoing college basketball seniors, Davies dominated during that week, wearing out every big man who tried to guard him on his way to Most Valuable Player honors.
Then the intrigue began.
“No question, him being the MVP at Portsmouth changed the way people looked at him,” Utah Jazz head scout Walt Perrin said. “Before, people looked at him as a guy who was sure to go undrafted. Now, people look at him as a second round pick and as someone who will make a team.”
Of course, there’s no guarantee. Quirky things always tend to happen on draft night. Teams make trades. Teams draft foreign prospects in the second round and stash them overseas, which tends to push American prospects further down the board.
Fact is, however, Davies has put himself in position to hear his name called in less than 72 hours. And, as he’s tirelessly toured the country working out for a countless array of teams, a chance is all the native of Provo could ask for.
“I think that’s a possibility,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “He’s put himself where a lot of these teams know about him and that’s a great place to be. He had a wonderful opportunity at Portsmouth and he took advantage of it by playing well and being named MVP. That turned some heads and created some interest in him.”
As a Cougar, Davies played the majority of his career in the post, expanding his game a bit during his senior season. At 6-foot-9, he won’t be a center on the next level because he’s too small. Knowing that he will have to transition to the power forward slot, Davies has shown scouts the ability to make the 18-foot jumper.
Davies proved at BYU he can run the floor to find easy baskets in transition. In a recent workout with the Jazz, he demonstrated the ability to play facing the hoop. Utah brought in other big men to match up with him. He more than held his own.
“I didn’t know his game was that diverse,” said former Oregon forward Arsalan Kazemi, whom Davies was matched up with for much of the time. “He played away from the basket and he put the ball on the floor. He was quick and he showed toughness inside. It was a tough matchup.”
With Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson being free agents and the very real possibility of Utah needing depth in its frontcourt, it’s not out of the realm of reality that Davies could be drafted by the hometown team.
But for now, Davies doesn’t think about it. Three months ago, Thursday wasn’t a possibility. But a few days from now, the man who won a Class 4A state title at Provo and brought plenty of wins to BYU could become a pro.
Yet he tries his best to not let it all consume him.
“The feedback from everyone’s been real positive,” Davies said. “It’s crazy to think there’s a chance that the Jazz could draft me, especially me having grown up here. It’s a dream come true just to be here. I’ve been told a couple of things. But I just have to try and stay away from it all and work hard.”
• Won a state title while at Provo High
• Was All-WCC in his senior year, averaging 17.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game
• Is seen as a potential second round pick