It was just one minute into the Denver Nuggets media availability for their first round of pre-draft workouts and you could already see why Jordan Davis was in the building.
In a highly competitive game of 3-on-3 between Davis and five other draft hopefuls, and the opening play showed why the Northern Colorado standout was there. Davis opened the scrimmage by pick-pocketing the other teams’ point guard before taking the basketball the length of the floor, and ultimately throwing down a massive one-handed slam.
If you watched Davis’ four-year career at the University of Northern Colorado, this came as no surprise. It became a regular occurrence during his collegiate career. In the small town of Greeley, Colorado, Davis became a star on a team that has risen back to one of the top smaller-school programs in the country.
For Davis, it also started once he arrived on campus as he played in 31 games as a freshman, 29 of which came as a starter. Davis averaged 11 points and 2.1 assists per game as a freshman, before a breakout sophomore season in which his points per game total jumped too 19.3 per contest.
Davis’ first two years at UNC were just the beginning. He went on to have a tremendous junior season which led to the Bears ultimately winning the CIT championship. His first three seasons in Greeley were special, but none compared to his senior year as Davis averaged a career high 23.5 points per game en route to a unanimous All-Big Sky First-Team selection.
All the hard work and dedication Davis put into being successful has a lot do to with his background, which is something he shared after his pre-draft workout on Tuesday.
“I’m just blessed. I’m coming from a situation where you don’t get this many opportunities. I’m not just talking about going to a smaller school, I’m talking about like where I’m from. I’m from north Las Vegas and If I would take you to the neighborhood’s I get up at as a kid and my high school, you wouldn’t take any opportunity for granted,” Davis said on his opportunity with the Nuggets. “For me, just being able to be here and get my foot in the door of my dream, cause I’ve been dreaming for this since I was a kid. So, I don’t care whether they have the first draft pick or no draft pick, I’m coming here to hopefully get a spot and I’m not going to take my opportunity for granted.”
When asked what type of feedback the Nuggets provided him, Davis talked about his three-point shot and how it is something he continues to work on. This past season Davis shot a career-high 36% from distance, which was 12.1 points higher than his percentage from his junior season.
“The biggest thing was shot preparation. They told me I do have a good shot, it is smooth, and they like the elevation I get on my shot. But, it’s as the ball is coming to me, making sure I’m set and making sure I can take a quicker shot. Because, they were also saying how on catch and shoot I have a bit of a dip in my shot. So just making sure I’m ready before the ball comes to me and that’s been something I’ve been working on all summer.
“They liked how I scored the ball, they liked how I made reads, and how I guarded the ball. So, it was definitely a big upside to come here and get the feedback that I did.”
That feedback is something Davis can use going into his next NBA workout as he mentioned how a trip to Boston was on deck.
For Davis, everything about his NBA dream has to do with his family and providing for his daughter, which is why he wouldn’t rule out playing international or anywhere else, just as long as its playing basketball.
“For me, as long as I have the opportunity to play basketball, that’s all I really care about. I’d be lying to you if I say I don’t want to make a lot of money playing this game. Because, my situation is different for a lot of people. If you do know me, you know I have a two-year old daughter. So, for me, its about being in the right situation, so I can provide for my daughter and my family to come.”
With the Nuggets currently holding no picks in the 2019 draft, their best chance at acquiring Davis might be if he goes undrafted. If no team selects Davis, he would almost certainly be a candidate for a summer league roster spot in Denver as the Nuggets organization does a tremendous job of providing local talent an opportunity.
Just last year, the Nuggets had former Northern Colorado standout Andre Spight on the summer league roster. In 2017, Xavier Johnson from Colorado played for Denver, while Josh Adams (Wyoming), Antwan Scott (Colorado State), and Josh Scott (CU) all played for the Nuggets summer league team in 2016.
Davis is certainly a name to keep an eye on once draft night rolls around on June 20th and once summer league rosters are announced. No matter what comes next for Davis though, he certainly is not a guy to bet against as he seems poised to take advantage of whatever opportunity does come his way.