Monday, March 28, 2011
One goal: Davis could land top ranking
By Scott Powers
Anthony Davis can land the No. 1 ranking with a solid week of practice against other All-Americans.
Perspectives senior forward Anthony Davis will finish No. 1 or 2 in ESPN's final Class of 2011 rankings, which isn't too shabby for a player who wasn't ranked anywhere in the country a year ago.
"It's really exciting going from being nowhere to No. 1," Davis said. "Most people don't get that, and I have the opportunity to do that. If I could be No. 1, it would probably be exciting for a week. ‘Oh God, I'm No. 1, let's go celebrate.'"
Heading into this week's McDonald's All-American game, ESPN has Winter Park (Fla.) shooting guard and Duke recruit Austin Rivers ranked No. 1, and Davis, a Kentucky recruit, at No. 2. At the end of the week, that could change, according to ESPN senior recruiting analyst Dave Telep.
"I think there are only two guys. It's Rivers and Davis," Telep said. "One is the now, and the other one could be the future. That's the one difficulty to take down this year.
"I've watched Austin Rivers since freshman year of high school. There's not much he can do that will be surprising to me. Anthony Davis, there's so much more to learn about him. We don't have a huge album on Anthony Davis. This is a chance for him to make more impressions."
Eddy Curry, who played at Thornwood, is the last Chicago-area senior to be considered the consensus No. 1. He was the top-ranked player in 2001.
Unlike Rivers, who is the son of Doc Rivers, Davis hasn't been a known commodity since stepping foot onto a high school court. Despite playing in Chicago, Davis went unnoticed for three high school seasons because his school plays in a the Public League Blue-West, one of the city's lowest divisions, and he never played club basketball.
It wasn't until last spring when Davis decided to play for MeanStreets on the club scene that his 6-10 size and multi-dimensional game gained exposure. Soon after, he went from one scholarship offer from Cleveland State and being unranked to being highly ranked and able to choose any school in the country.
Davis has one more final chance to prove himself. He's already secured at least a top 2 spot, but with a great week of practice he could vault himself to No. 1.
Yes, practice will determine where he ends up. The game and its alley-oops, behind-the-back passes and high scoring are for the fans. Where Telep will be watching closely is when the players compete against each other in practice at ATTACK Athletics.
"This is a situation where the spotlight is on you," Telep said. "How are you going to respond? What is your approach going to be? If I was a guy of his caliber, I would want to be razor sharp in my approach, be business-like.
"I want to see how he's competing. I want to see everything, little nuisances he's added. There are two ways of walking on the floor. You walk on the floor knowing you're the best player or you walk on the floor trying to fake it. I wonder how he's going to approach it."
Wherever Davis ends up in ESPN's rankings, Telep believes Davis has a huge career ahead of him.
"In my mind, I have this vision of what Anthony Davis can look like," Telep said. "I think he could be a guy whose game mimics Chris Bosh to a degree with an even bigger defensive upside.
"A year ago, he was no different than 500,000 kids who are named Anthony Davis. Now, he's the Anthony Davis."