After the loss to the Baylor Bears in the semi-final of the NIT in April, BYU basketball’s big man Brandon Davies has been hard at work to improve his draft stock for the upcoming NBA Draft, which takes place June 27.
After the season’s end, Davies was invited to play in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, where he impressed a number of scouts. At the tournament, Davies averaged 20.7 points on 68 percent shooting, 9.3 rebounds and 3 assists per game — enough to garner him a landslide victory at the tournament’s MVP honors.
“That was a lot of fun,” Davies said. “I got put on like a really good team … everyone just wanted to win so it made it fun, and (I) just was able to play my game and played pretty good I guess … my performance there is kind of what got me my invite to the combine.”
Davies was one of 60 players invited by the NBA to the draft combine that was held May 16 and 17 in Chicago. Since the combine, Davies has been invited to work out with a number of NBA teams.
Davies has worked out with eight different NBA teams thus far, including the Utah Jazz, and is scheduled to visit five more.
“(The workouts are) all pretty similar,” Davies said. “The Jazz workout was pretty fun ’cause that’s the team I kind of pretty much grew up watching … it was just fun to be there.”
The teams that have invited Davies to workouts have been trying to figure out what he can contribute immediately; but they have also been giving him some very useful feedback.
“They’re all really positive … but at the same time they’re really honest with you too,” Davies said. “I kind of ask them what they think I should work on … and how I would fit in their system and everything … they let you know honestly how they feel.”
Davies has been said to be one of the best scoring big men in the draft. NBA teams have taken notice of the number of quality post moves Davies possesses, along with his ability to distribute the ball and get his teammates involved.
Despite having a great offensive mind and feel for the game, Davies knows, and has been told by NBA general managers, that there is still a lot of room for improvement.
“I’ve definitely been working on my range and shot consistency and getting stronger,” Davies said. “Those are all things teams were kind of worried about when they first looked at me, but as they bring me into workouts … they’re letting me know they’re seeing the improvement and, you know, liking what they’re seeing.”
Davies has long dreamed about playing in the NBA and has worked hard every year to develop his game into a more professional caliber of play. His dream became more of a reality between his sophomore and junior years at BYU with the addition of coach Mark Pope to the BYU coaching staff.
“Coach Pope was really good at preparing me,” Davies said. “The stuff that we did, and the workouts … helped me to kind of change my game and change my approach to things, to start playing more as if I was ready to play at that level. That definitely helped me, having him come in and help me out and just kind of change, you know, my work ethic and things like that.”
Davies’ draft stock has risen steadily throughout his career at BYU and since the end of the season. Many NBA analysts speculate that he will be a late second-round draft pick.
“I’m really excited (for the draft) — I’m really confident as well,” Davies said. “But it’s just one of those things that you have no control over, so you just gotta kind of sit back and wait and see what happens … a lot of hard work has been paying off so far — hopefully that can continue as I continue to work.”