On August 13, 2010, Anthony Davis made his Lexington love known.
More than a year before he would suit up for his first game as a Wildcat, Davis committed to Kentucky over DePaul, Ohio State and Syracuse. The rich got richer with his addition to the Kentucky Class of 2011, which was already sporting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague, who were ranked No. 1 and No. 5, respectively, in the country according to Rivals at the time. Davis was placed No. 8 by Rivals when he committed, setting Kentucky up to have an incredibly dominant freshman class for the 2011-12 campaign well before it began.
By the time the Class of 2011 graduated from high school, Davis was atop the 247Sports Composite Rankings and five-star Kyle Wiltjer had joined to round out Kentucky’s No. 1-ranked class.
Davis spent one season in college, playing a major role in Kentucky cruising to a national championship, the eighth in the program’s history. His supremacy was well noticed as he was named Final Four MOP, consensus National Player of the Year, consensus First Team All-American and NABC Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks per contest.
He was selected No. 1 overall in the 2012 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets and has been an NBA All-Star almost every year since. He’s now battling on the biggest stage in the NBA Finals, but a decade back, he was just a kid with a ton of potential. Let’s look back at the reactions to his commitment to Kentucky 10 years ago.
Anthony Davis Commits to Kentucky
“As Kentucky basketball fans prepare for their first look at the class of 2010 this weekend, Coach John Calipari has given them another reason to salivate over the incoming freshmen in 2011.
“Anthony Davis, a 6-foot-10 forward from Chicago, committed to the Wildcats on Friday, his father said Friday.
“Davis, who is rated the No. 5 player in the nation by the Scout.com recruiting service and No. 8 overall by Rivals.com, picked Kentucky over Ohio State, Syracuse and DePaul. Davis joins 6-6 forward Michael Gilchrist of Somerdale, N.J., and 6-2 point guard Marquis Teague of Indianapolis as top-10 prospects in the class of 2011 committed to play for Kentucky.” – Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader
“The recruitment of Anthony Davis is one of the more bizarre stories in recent memory. In this age of Twitter-breaking news and internet sensationalism, Anthony Davis remained a complete unknown in recruiting circles until the spring of 2010. Despite being from the basketball hotbed of Chicago, Davis wasn’t listed on any recruiting boards for a variety of reasons. First, prior to his junior season, he measured just 6’2″ and was a ball-handling guard. Second, he played for a little-known, academic-oriented high school. Finally, he never had an AAU presence until he joined MeanStreets during his junior year.” – jc25, A Sea of Blue
“I liked Tracy McGrady and he was very good, and Allen Iverson was a good ball handler. Now I idolize Kevin Durant and Kevin Garnett.” – Davis
“If any player is currently on the rise in college basketball, it is Davis. Although he is already a consensus top 10 prospect, some have proposed that he may actually be the best player in the nation.
“Scout.com’s Evan Daniels describes him as ‘the best prospect in the 2011 class’ from a long-term standpoint and most expect him to continue to climb up the rankings as the year progresses.” – Dan Bodner, Bleacher Report
“Davis’ rise to prominence began not in high school games, but on the AAU circuit. He first surfaced on the recruiting radar at the Boo Williams Invitational in April 2010, then weeks later, exploded at the Nike Spring Showdown and Spiece Run ‘N Slam. National recognition soon followed. Davis skyrocketed from an unranked prospect to a five-star phenom. Upon updating their recruiting boards, Rivals shot Davis to 8th overall, Scout to 5th. Previously mulling interest from the likes of Cleveland State, Davis was now heavily pursued by coaching heavyweights Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Thad Matta (Ohio State), and John Calipari.” – jc25
“It’s completely amazing and even more amazing when you think that even last year in high school he had at least one 50 point game. But the high school that he plays at is so far off the radar as far as basketball. I hadn’t seen Anthony Davis since the 8th grade in one of my middle school showcases. He was there and I remember him playing, but he was a big, 6-foot kid with thick glasses. He was out there against Wayne Blackshear and all those guys. That was the last time I’d seen him play.
“Then, he’s at Perspectives and the growth spurt happened so quickly no one could get accurate with the height because every time you heard of him he was a different height.” – Brian Stinnette, ChicagoHoops.com publisher
“A year ago, Anthony Davis looked in the mirror and saw a 6-foot-3 guard in search of a college scholarship. At the time, Davis owned a common name and a common basketball frame. He was watching guards to pick up tricks to use on the floor and hoped he could play in college. It would be months until Cleveland State would come see him play and make him a first scholarship offer.
“Then, something happened. He grew a couple inches. Then a couple more. Then a couple more. Suddenly, the guard was now a power forward.
“‘It came in spurts,’ Davis said. ‘At the beginning of the [junior] school year I was 6-3. Then I went to 6-5 and then 6-8.’
“Davis is now 6-10 and ranked No. 2 in the ESPNU 100. He signed to play for John Calipari and Kentucky. But there’s more to it than just what happened on the hardwood. Growing seven inches changes everything, literally.” – Dave Telep
“It was really weird. My mom was buying clothes for me and then they were too small. Right now I’m still growing; it’s still weird.” – Davis
“UK’s 2010 group was the No. 1-rated recruiting class in America, and Davis’ commitment made it almost inconceivable that Kentucky won’t again have the No. 1 class in 2011.
“Gilchrist, the No. 1 prospect in the 2011 class, pledged to UK on April 14. Eight days later, Calipari landed another top-five prospect in Teague.” – Tipton
“It will be nice (playing with Gilchrist and Teague). They are very talented and unselfish players, who are about winning, like me.” – Davis
“In August 2010, amidst rumors that Davis was close to verbaling to Kentucky, the Chicago Sun-Times dropped a bombshell allegation, asserting that the “cost” of said verbal commitment was an agreed-upon $200,000. It’s an accusation that the Davises vehemently denied. Davis’ father, Anthony Sr., even threatened to sue the Sun-Times. Kentucky, likewise, denied the rumor. Since then, it’s been much ado about nothing. The Sun-Times stood by its original story, claiming three anonymous sources. To date, the Davises have not filed any lawsuit. And both Kentucky and the NCAA have shown no indication of investigating the matter further.” jc25
“Coach Calipari is easy to talk to and he listens to what you are saying. (Calipari) will be a father figure to me away from home. He’s a demanding coach that will not tell me what I want to hear, but what I need to hear to improve.” – Davis
“Kentucky fans’ expectations for Davis should be sky high, and rightfully so. NBA Scouts are already drooling, tagging him a near-unanimous choice for first overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft (see: Chad Ford | Draft Express | NBADraft.net). Barring any additional unexpected growth spurts, Davis will man the 4 in the pros. However, Kentucky’s primary need will be at the 5 after the departure of senior Josh Harrellson. Expect Davis to slide into the starting lineup immediately to fill that void.” – jc25
“I’m just blessed with that. I can time when people are going to shoot the ball. I just have this instinct and try to time it perfect almost every time. It’s natural and I try to get every ball. You can’t score without the basketball. I try to get every rebound and stop them from scoring every position. It just happened. I blocked a couple of shots but it wasn’t like seven or eight; it just happened.” – Davis