Breakout star at the collegiate level whose toughness and ability to put pressure on opposing defenses with his dexterity as a finisher and ability to create in the midrange stood out even with his confidence as a 3-point shooter still developing.
About Johnny Davis
The breakout star of the 2021-22 college basketball season, Johnny Davis was arguably the most improved player in the country; effecting the game with his athleticism on both ends, putting constant pressure on opposing defenses, and turning in several of the year’s top individual performances. The son of Mark Davis, a standout at Old Dominion who was selected in the fourth round of the 1985 NBA Draft before embarking on career that included stints with the Bucks and Suns and stops in Spain, Italy and the La Crosse Catbirds of the Continental Basketball Association, the Wisconsin native was considered a fringe top-150 prospect in the high school class of 2020 playing alongside his twin brother and Badgers’ teammate, Jordan, following their senior year at La Crosse Central High School (WI).
Carving out a rotation role averaging 7.0 points and 4.1 rebounds as a true freshman on a senior-heavy roster in his first year under head coach Greg Gard, Davis subsequently managed to earn a spot on the USA team featuring Jaden Ivey and Chet Holmgren that took gold at the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup. While he averaged just 4.1 points and 1.4 assists per game in Riga, Davis parlayed that experience into a massive year in Madison as he averaged 19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game to capture Big Ten Player of the Year and Consensus First-Team All-American honors.
• Measured standing 6-foot-5.75 with a 196-pound frame to go along with a 6-foot-8.5 wingspan at the 2022 NBA Draft Combine, Davis has prototypical dimensions for a shooting guard and is a deceptive athlete who combines good quickness and leaping ability with tremendous body control.
• Nearly tripling his scoring average from his freshman year, Davis carried a massive offensive burden as a sophomore not only producing consistently from the post and attacking closeouts while executing the Badgers’ half court offense, but creating impressively out of ball screens and drag screens as well. Looking to get downhill aggressively, the 20-year-old guard finished creatively with both hands around the rim and got to the line at a strong rate, but was prolific creating angles in the midrange and scored in bunches when he could find the range on his jumper. While Davis looked like the best player in college basketball carrying Wisconsin for stretches last season, he still has room to continue to develop as a three-point threat and passer.
• Competing with a steady motor and rebounding the ball at a high level for a guard, Davis was terrific on the defensive end, especially for the massive role he filled offensively.
• Filling one of the biggest roles in college basketball, Davis’ slashing ability stood out as he got to the rim in a variety of ways. Averaging 1.20 points per shot around the rim in the half court [66th percentile], he showed the ability to play above the rim in space and through contact, but did his most impressive work utilizing his body control and ability to finish with both hands to score acrobatically over and around defenders in traffic.
• Creating his own shot in the post and finding ways to elevate into his pull-up when he could not create clean angles to the rim, Davis was assertive in the midrange and scored 0.82 points per jump shot [53rd percentile] as a result. While he made open catch and shoot jumpers at a solid rate on limited attempts, he has plenty of room to grow as a jump shooter as he was one of the tougher covers in college basketball when he was making shots but lacked rhythm on many attempts as well.
• Playing a winning style as he found ways to get involved off the ball, looked to step up when the Badgers’ struggled, and took care of the ball consistently, Davis has some natural room to grow as a passer when his scoring is less of a necessity.
• Competing with steady energy on the defensive end, Davis has the tools to hold his own on the ball and shows nice intensity looking to recover when he makes mistakes. Despite seldom leaving the floor some nights and dealing with a sore ankle late in the year, he steadily played with toughness on both ends.
• Bringing a sense of urgency when closing out shooters and doing an excellent job chipping in on the glass, Davis possesses a nice blend of instincts and fundamentals on the defensive end.
— Profile by Synergy Sports