2018 Draft Workouts: A.J. Davis

June 8, 2018 - A.J. Davis, the son of Pacers star Antonio Davis, worked out for the Pacers today. After, he spoke about his experience with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss.

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2018 Draft Workouts: A.J. Davis

June 8, 2018 - A.J. Davis, the son of Pacers star Antonio Davis, worked out for the Pacers today. After, he spoke about his experience with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss.
Jun 8, 2018  |  02:35

2018 Draft Workouts: Donte DiVincenzo

June 8, 2018 - Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo talks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss about his workout with the Pacers and his whirlwind last few months since winning a national title.
Jun 8, 2018  |  02:07

2018 Draft Workouts: Keita Bates-Diop

June 8, 2018 - Ohio State's Keita Bates-Diop discussed how his pre-draft workout went with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss.
Jun 8, 2018  |  01:18

2018 Draft Workouts: Shake Milton

June 8, 2018 - Shake Milton from SMU worked out for the Pacers today, and after, he met with Pacers.com to discuss his length and how his game will translate to the NBA.
Jun 8, 2018  |  01:24

2018 Draft Workouts: Gary Clark

June 8, 2018 - After his pre-draft workout with the Pacers, Cincinnati's Gary Clark spoke with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss.
Jun 8, 2018  |  02:58

2018 Draft Workouts: Alize Johnson

June 8, 2018 - After his pre-draft workout, Missouri State's Alize Johnson shared that though he may come from a mid-major, he belongs in the NBA.
Jun 8, 2018  |  01:38

Davis Hoping to Follow in Father's Footsteps

Plus Notes on the Other Prospects at Friday's Pre-Draft Workout
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor

Friday in Indianapolis was a special day for the Davis family.

A.J. Davis, a 6-8 forward out of Central Florida, participated in a pre-draft workout for the Pacers at the St. Vincent Center, the same franchise where his father Antonio played a starring role in the '90s.

Across the street at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, his twin sister Kaela was preparing with her Dallas Wings teammates for a WNBA game against the Indiana Fever.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Donte DiVincenzo and Keita Bates-Diop headlined Friday's workout, but Davis drew just as big a crowd from the local media, eager to soak in his family's story.

The Pacers drafted Antonio Davis in the second round in 1990 and, after a stint overseas, the bruising forward was a mainstay in the Indiana frontcourt for six seasons from 1993-99. A.J. and Kaela were born in Indianapolis in 1995 and though they don't remember much from his time with the Pacers, they certainly understand his connection to the franchise. For A.J., it was "kind of surreal" to get the opportunity to put on a Pacers jersey, even if only for a day.

"To be back here now after everything my dad's done in this organization and having a chance to work out for (the Pacers), it's really humbling and a great honor," he said.

The younger Davis began his college career at Tennessee in 2013, but transferred to Central Florida after his freshman season. He averaged 12.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game as a senior for the Golden Knights.

While his father was a physical inside presence, Davis' game is more perimeter-oriented, but he does believe that he inherited some of his dad's intangibles.

"I think we're very different, but I think the game's just changed and that's kind of what makes us different," Davis said. "But at the same time, we're similar.

"I think I play really hard, I play defense well, I rebound the ball really well, and I make tough basketball plays that not everybody's willing to make."

By coincidence, Davis' workout with the Pacers happened to be scheduled on the same day the Wings were in town. But both he and his sister — who is in her second WNBA season — are so focused on their own basketball pursuits, they didn't even realize they were both in Indianapolis until Friday morning.

While Kaela Davis was the 10th overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft, her brother A.J. is considered a long shot to hear his name called on draft day. That doesn't mean he can't work his way into the league, though, as he'll likely have a chance to play for a team in Summer League and potentially earn a two-way contract.

He can draw inspiration from his father, who was the 45th overall pick in his draft class and didn't make his NBA debut until three years later, but eventually played 13 seasons in the league, including an All-Star selection while with the Toronto Raptors in 2001.

Whether A.J. Davis can replicate his father's success remains to be seen, but he's adopting the same mentality as he embarks on his own professional career.

"I think I play hard and I play basketball the right way," Davis said. "I can do a lot of different things on the basketball court."

Shake Milton, Alize Johnson, and Gary Clark

SMU's Shake Milton (left), Missouri State's Alize Johnson (middle), and Cincinnati's Gary Clark (right) also participated in Friday's workout.

Sharpshooter Milton, Skilled Big Men Johnson and Clark Audition for Pacers

The other three prospects at Friday's workout may not have garnered as much media attention, but each could have value to an NBA team.

SMU point guard Shake Milton may even go in the first round of the draft, thanks to his size and shooting ability. Milton spent three seasons in Dallas (where he was teammates with current Pacers two-way player Ben Moore) and was a remarkably consistent sharpshooter.

He shot 42.6 percent from 3-point range as a freshman, 42.3 percent as a sophomore, and 43.4 percent as a junior. Each of those percentages comes from a substantial sample size, as he attempted at least 120 threes (and an average of at least four per game) in each of his three years in college.

Offense is not a question for Milton, who averaged 18.0 points and 4.4 assists in the 2017-18 season, though he missed the final 11 games with a right hand injury. His best game came in a road win at seventh-ranked Wichita State on Jan. 17, when he poured in 33 points on 11-of-14 shooting (5-of-6 from 3-point range) and dished out five assists.

Milton's size also could enable him to turn into a valuable defender at the next level. He measured out at 6-6 with a 7-feet-3/4 wingspan at the NBA Draft Combine last month and is focusing hard on the defensive end during the pre-draft process.

"Being able to be a pesky defender, get after guys and alter shots and just make it tough for the offense, I think that's important," Milton said.

College basketball fans might not know Johnson, who spent two years at Missouri State after beginning his college career in junior college, but he is definitely on NBA teams' radars.

The 6-8 forward averaged a double-double in both of his seasons with the Bears, including 15 points and 11.6 rebounds as a senior.

For some players, being able to do one thing really well is enough to land you on an NBA roster. Johnson could fit that mold, as he is one of the best rebounders in this year's draft class.

"I just have a knack and a nose for going up and getting rebounds," he said. "It's something that I love to do. I'm just dedicated to going up there and grabbing it every time."

While skeptics might think Johnson's stats were inflated playing against weaker competition in the Missouri Valley Conference, his play at the combine suggests otherwise. Johnson averaged 17 points, 9.5 rebounds, and four assists in Chicago. That performance showed that he could develop into even more than just an energy guy who crashes the boards.

"Getting to play against these high-level guys, it really just shows me that I belong and I'm ready to compete with the best of the best," Johnson said.

Clark doesn't excel in one particular facet, but can do everything well. The 6-8 forward had a standout four-year career at Cincinnati, leaving as one of the most beloved players in school history.

As a senior, the 6-8 forward averaged 12.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 52.6 percent from the floor and 43.5 percent from 3-point range. That versatility resulted in a bevy of honors. In the span of one week in March, Clark was named the American Athletic Conference's Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, tournament MVP, and Sportsmanship Award winner.

Despite his success in school, Clark will have to prove a few things to NBA teams. Even in the modern NBA, he is a little undersized for a post player and there are questions about his shooting ability (though he shot a high percentage from three as a senior, he only attempted 1.7 shots per game from beyond the arc). Nonetheless, Clark believes his all-around skill set can provide value at the next level.

"My principles remain the same," he said. "Being able to get steals, be active defensively, blocking shots, those things get me going offensively...I thrive on those plays."

Clark met former Cincinnati guard Lance Stephenson for the first time on Friday. The veteran Pacers guard had a workout in the St. Vincent Center immediately after his fellow Bearcat auditioned for Nate McMillan and the coaching staff.

Though they had not crossed paths before Friday, Clark was well aware of Stephenson's reputation.

"I have heard a couple stories," he said. "Just his intensity and competitiveness, whether it's in practice or a game...That competitiveness, it's within us at Cincinnati to always compete because your position is always on the line."


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