Cousin of Anthony Davis among 34 at D-League tryout (9/15/13)

Iowa Energy D-League Tryouts in New Orleans

Cousin of Anthony Davis among 34 at D-League tryout

By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer

Perhaps the last place you’d expect to see a recent NBA No. 1 overall draft pick is at a D-League open tryout. Yet there was New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis on Sunday morning, watching from the sidelines at Tulane University as the D-League’s Iowa Energy evaluated 34 aspiring players. The reason behind Davis’ unexpected presence was a very personal one: His first cousin was one of the participants.

Keith Chamberlain, 25, who grew up in Chicago with Davis, traveled to New Orleans this weekend in order to participate in the D-League tryout and stay with his cousin. Chamberlain’s mother and Davis’ mom are sisters.

Chamberlain and 33 other young players registered to play Sunday at Tulane’s Hertz Center and be seen by coaches and staff of the Iowa Energy. Based in Des Moines, Iowa, the team is the Pelicans’ D-League affiliate, as well as the affiliate of Chicago, Denver, Minnesota and Washington. The Energy are hosting tryouts this fall in each of the five NBA cities, seeking undiscovered basketball talent. The best prospects will later be invited to Energy training camp or have their names submitted as potential D-League draftees.

“I’m hoping to hear good news from this tryout,” said Chamberlain, a 6-foot-7 forward who appeared to be adept at scoring and rebounding during Sunday’s scrimmages. “But if not, I plan to stay down here in New Orleans and continue working out with Anthony.”

Chamberlain played collegiately at Grinnell (Iowa) College, the unconventional Division III program made famous in November 2012 when guard Jack Taylor poured in an amazing 138 points in a game. Since 2008, Chamberlain has played professionally in various locations, including Germany and Latvia. He and his two brothers helped teach Davis basketball when Davis was a youngster.

“We were kind of like the brothers that he doesn’t have,” Chamberlain said of the 6-foot-10 Davis, who has two sisters. “We’re a really close-knit family, very tight. (As a pro player) I was maybe a little bit of inspiration, for him to know that someone from our neighborhood, our city and our family could make it in professional basketball.”

Chamberlain knew Davis had significant potential as a player at an early age. He laughs when he remembers returning home to Chicago from overseas after basketball season ended each year.

“Every time I’d come back, he’d be four or five inches taller than the last time I saw him,” Chamberlain said, grinning.