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Hornets' Davis ready to build from gold-medal summer


Posted Sep 27, 2012 8:58 PM

METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- Although Anthony Davis has shared the court with some of the greatest basketball players in the world, he does not see himself as an NBA player quite yet.

"I just feel like a guy who's just playing basketball right now," the Hornets rookie and top overall draft choice said. "Until I play an NBA game, then I (can't) consider myself an NBA player."

With training camp opening next Tuesday, Davis stopped by the Saints' training headquarters, which is now in the process of becoming the headquarters for the Hornets under new owner Tom Benson.

Davis brought his gold medal with him, and acknowledged his experience playing for the U.S. at the London Games should put him ahead of the NBA rookie curve.

"My game developed more than what I expected just by playing the Olympics and being around them guys," Davis said. "But there's still a lot to learn and a lot more to do so I've got to continue working."

Davis is staying away from offering any expectations for how the Hornets might do this season. He knows they have talent in not only him, but 10th overall draft pick Austin Rivers, not to mention veterans Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson.

Davis also will have help in the paint from 7-footers Robin Lopez and Jason Smith.

"We're rebuilding so that's going to be tough," Davis said. "But I think we're going to have a great team this year."

Hornets coach Monty Williams preaches a defense-first philosophy, which the 6-foot-11 Davis expects to suit him well as a shot-blocker who can play power forward or center in a zone defense.

Davis said one of his priorities is to bulk up in the hope he can become more effective guarding the post against physical and bigger players.

"It's a physical game. Very physical. I definitely got to stay in the weight room," he said.

Davis said he has already added weight to the 220-pound build he had while winning a national title with Kentucky last spring.

"I'm not sure how much. Just feel it," Davis said, cracking a playful grin. "Feel like I'm Superman."

Being a top overall pick generally brings with it pressure to perform right away, but Davis said he is not worried about that, partly because of Williams' philosophy that the job of young players is to learn and develop, not carry the team.

"Coach Williams does a great job of taking that pressure off of me and putting it on the team and organization," Davis said. "We're all young guys. I'm 19 years old going into a grown man's league. I think he does a great job taking that pressure off of one player, not just me. Eric, Austin, Robin, everybody on the team and just trying to put it on the organization and team as one."

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