Johnny Davis of the Wisconsin Badgers, prospect #9 on ESPN 100, takes part in the NBA draft

Wisconsin second guard Johnny Davis will participate in the 2022 NBA draft and forego his remaining college eligibility by hiring an agent, he told Malika Andrews Thursday on ESPN’s NBA Today.

“After taking some time off and talking it through with my family and my coaches, I decided to pursue a lifelong dream by drafting myself in the NBA draft with intentions of hiring an agent,” Davis said .

Davis, the Prospectus #9 in ESPN 100was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and a consensus All-American after averaging 19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 34 minutes per game.

“This season has been an incredible ride,” Davis said. “People didn’t expect us to have the season we had, but the players in our dressing room and our coaching staff always knew we had the potential to be a special team.

“Obviously, with so many great teams and players in our league, it was a huge honor to be named Big Ten Player of the Year, but winning the Big Ten regular-season title and playing in the NCAA tournament was so much sweeter. I’d like to think that NBA teams have seen a player who is tough, who takes every possession at both ends of the court, and who will do whatever it takes to help my team win. Every time I hit the ground, I want to be the best player.”

Davis led Wisconsin to a Big Ten championship shared with the Badgers Illinois after the defeat at home Nebraska in the final game of the regular season. The Badgers led by 10 points at halftime but gave up the lead when Davis went down with a premature ankle injury that continued to handicap him into the postseason.

“I wasn’t 100%, but I was confident that if I played, we still had a great chance of winning the Big Ten Conference tournament and advancing in the NCAA tournament,” Davis said. “I wanted to be out there with my boys, to give everything I had.”

Davis is a finalist for some of college basketball’s most prestigious postseason awards, including the Wooden, Naismith and Lute Olson Awards, all presented annually to the top players in Division I men’s basketball.

Davis grew up in La Crosse, Wisconsin — 143 miles from Madison — and was named the state’s Mr. Basketball. He was also an All-Star quarterback and played alongside twin brother Jordan, a wide receiver. Jordan Davis is a key reserve on the Wisconsin basketball team.

Johnny Davis’ rise from three-star high school recruit to arguably the best player in college basketball has been remarkable. He was part of the US basketball team that won a gold medal at the FIBA ​​U19 World Championship in Latvia last summer, but few expected him to emerge with the Badgers as a potential top-10 pick just months later.

“Coaching [Greg] Gard and my teammates believed in me and gave me the confidence and opportunity to play a much bigger role than my freshman season,” Davis said. “Deep down I always knew I could be a player of this caliber but my success and experience with Team USA last summer took my confidence to another level and I just carried that with me into this season. I have faith in the work I’ve put in over the years and I’ve been fortunate to work every day with arguably my toughest defender, my twin brother Jordan, for as long as I can remember.

“I think NBA teams can learn that the path to the NBA is not the same for all players. I didn’t rank high in high school and went to Wisconsin to change the narrative around our program. My dad always told me that production will always trump potential and focus on playing hard and winning and that’s stuck with me.”

Get comparisons from NBA scouts Jalen SuggsNo. 5 drafted in 2021, Davis has the rebound, defensive versatility and toughness that put him on the NBA radar early on when Wisconsin was defeated Houston winning the Maui Invitational in November, with Davis scoring 30 points in the finals and winning MVP honors.

He continued to shoulder a heavy goal-scoring load for the Badgers in the Big Ten game and went on to become his team’s primary ball handler and one of the best pick-and-roll and mid-range scorers in college basketball while recording 37 3-pointers and 155 Free throws scored in 31 games.

“I know the pace and style of play is different in the NBA, but I think it suits my ability very well,” Davis said. “My ability to get past my defender, my athleticism and strength to land on the rim, and being a three-tier scorer combined with more distance in the NBA will give me the opportunity to succeed.

“… My hope is to effectively fill any role that my next team will ask of me, which will hopefully result in our team winning games. Ultimately, I want to be one of the reasons an NBA team becomes a championship organization.”

The NBA Draft Combine will take place May 16-22 in Chicago and the draft on June 23 in Brooklyn, New York.

Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analysis service used by NBA, NCAA, and international teams.

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