Below is the second excerpt of the series Eric Lindsey and I are doing for CoachCal.com. As Eric mentioned last week, we are profiling the Kentucky men's basketball team's five newcomers in an exclusive series for CoachCal.com. Because it's an exclusive, we can only post a portion of the story below. You'll have to head over to CoachCal.com to read the full story.
Anthony Davis has every reason to look ahead.
Without playing a game at the college level, Davis has already drawn comparisons to NBA stars like Kevin Garnett and Marcus Camby for his athleticism, defensive prowess and diverse skillset.
Professional scouts are already drooling over him and wondering what kind of player he can become at the next level. Even though many of the NCAA's top players opted to pass on the 2011 NBA Draft and return to school, Davis sits atop many mock drafts as the projected No. 1 overall pick in 2012.
Davis, though, isn't going to get caught peeking. The Chicago, Ill., native is wholly focused on his upcoming freshman season at Kentucky where he will play alongside the top-ranked incoming class in the nation and a group of returners that figures to give John Calipari an excellent chance to take his second consecutive team to the Final Four.
"The (NBA) is a whole season away, multiple seasons away if anything," Davis said in an exclusive interview with CoachCal.com. "I'm not really worried about that. In a college season, anything can happen. I might be ready to leave and I might not. There's a whole college season and I'm just focused on winning a national championship for Coach Cal and bringing Big Blue Nation number eight. That's the only thing I'm focused on right now."
That focus on the present comes partially from Davis' unique rise as the top prospect. Davis' story, by now, is well known. As a high school junior, he was a guard trying to earn a college scholarship wherever he could find it. It was then that Davis shot up, in terms of both his height and his ranking as a prospect.
By the end of his junior year, he had grown over half a foot, but he held on to the skills he developed as a guard. Davis didn't grow anymore over the summer, but he showcased his talents (and his newfound height) on the AAU circuit and accepted UK's scholarship offer before his senior year began.
While many top prospects have looked at basketball as a career for years, that concept is a novel one to Davis. He is less than two years removed from trying to scrape for a way to pay for his college education. Not a day goes by that Davis does not remember that.
"I think about that every day," Davis said. "It was God's gift to give me height and give me talent, especially coming out of nowhere. I was 6-2, 6-3 last year and shot up to 6-10. I give all thanks to God and I think it's a sign that He wants me to do great things. I think about that every day."