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SI High School Player of the Week - Basketball

March 16, 2011

Anthony Davis

Position:

Forward

School:

Perspectives Charter High

Location:

Chicago

Height:

6-10

Weight:

200

Class:

Senior

Season Highlights:

Davis grew an incredible eight inches between his junior and senior years and has emerged as one of the nation's top prospects. This season he's averaging 32 points and 22 rebounds per game. Davis has committed to Kentucky.

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Posted: Wednesday March 16, 2011 1:26PM ; Updated: Tuesday May 24, 2011 12:49PM

Eight-inch growth spurt has turned Davis into beast

By Ben Glicksman, SI.com

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Nearly 10 months ago, Anthony Davis was a relative unknown in the basketball world. Now the high-flying, freakishly-athletic forward has a bold message to send to the rest of the nation.

"Next year at Kentucky, we're winning the national championship," he said. "I guarantee it."

That's an audacious statement for someone who hasn't even arrived to campus yet. But if Davis's collegiate trajectory mirrors his meteoric high school rise, it's within the realm of possibility.

Heading into his junior year at Perspectives Charter High, Davis was a slender 6-foot-2, a savvy ballhandler most effective as a slasher. Barely a year later, he was an incredible eight inches taller, the beneficiary of a skyscraper-type growth spurt. He transformed from perimeter player into monster in the middle.

"One day I went to the doctor and he was like, 'You're 6-10,'" Davis recalled. "I was like, 'Are you serious?' When you grow, you personally don't feel it."

His spectacular growth has been unmistakable on the court, as he's become a ferocious shot-blocker and rebounder. His quickness and unselfishness make him a matchup nightmare in the paint, and following a breakout summer for Chicago-based AAU team Mean Streets, Davis was the talk of college scouts and coaches nationwide. For good reason: He's averaging a whopping 32 points and 22 rebounds as a senior.

He also can shoot. Davis's 6-10 frame might suggest he's best-suited in the post, but his experience as a smaller player cultivated a capable outside game, making him a constant threat to connect from beyond the arc. Though he's drawn recent comparisons to Tracy McGrady and Tayshaun Prince, he likens his game most closely to Kevin Durant's.

"[Durant] uses his height to his advantage," he said. "When he got smalls against him, he tries to go post a lot, and when he got bigs around him, he tries to use his speed."

Davis will bring that dynamic approach to Lexington, as he committed to Kentucky over Ohio State and Syracuse in August. He was originally targeted by only DePaul and Cleveland State, but received a barrage of offers after his rapid growth and AAU emergence put him on the Division-I fast track. He signed with coach John Calipari's program for its history of success in the NBA draft.

"[Calipari] sent five players to the NBA first round last year," he said. "My goal is to go to the NBA and I think the University of Kentucky has the best chance of putting me there."

He'll look to prove himself on campus first, joining a star-studded recruiting class that many analysts consider the best in the nation. In addition to Davis, the Wildcats will add three more five-star recruits: point guard Marquis Teague, swingman Michael Gilchrist and forward Kyle Wiltjer.

But can a group of young and inexperienced newcomers follow through on the lofty promise of a national title? Davis certainly believes it can happen.

"If we bring all our styles and creativity to each other then it makes the game a whole lot easier," he said. "We all have the same mindset to go in and win the next national championship."

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