Road to Draft Day: Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis looks to follow in his father’s footsteps by making it to NBA

A lot of players will be hoping to hear their name called at the 2022 NBA Draft, but very few, if any, have the pedigree of Wisconsin sophomore guard Johnny Davis. Johnny’s father, Mark, was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1985, and he spent time with Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks, in addition to playing professionally overseas for over a decade. Given his history, it’s not so surprising that Johnny got a lot of his love and drive for the game from his father. 

“My dad, he had been in the NBA for about a year. He played basketball professionally for 13 years overseas. I remember him coaching us and being really hard on us and yelling a lot, which I feel like is the reason why we’re as good as we are today,” Davis said on CBS Sports’ Road to Draft Day: Presented By Jeep. “All the preparation, I think it will pay off.” 

Davis isn’t the only active ballplayer in his family, either, as his brother Jordan, currently plays for Wisconsin. Some of Johnny’s earliest memories around the game involved watching older players with his brother and trying to pick up a few tricks of the trade. 

“I took basketball very seriously, even at a young age,” Davis said. “The first time I first picked up and ball and started playing basketball was probably when I was four years old. I remember my dad took me and Jordan to the gym. There was a bunch of high schoolers there working out and we kind of just were on the side, getting a feel for the game.” 

In college, after only coming off the bench as a freshman, Davis started 31 games as a sophomore and his production shot up across the board as he averaged 19.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 blocks in 34.2 minutes per game. He would go on to receive the Jerry West Award, Lute Olson Award, and Big Ten Player of the Year award. He was also named a consensus First-Team All-American. 

In many mock drafts — including the most recent from CBS Sports — Davis is projected to be a lottery pick. Here’s what David Cobb had to say about him: 

His 30.6% 3-point shooting mark as a sophomore might scare some scouts, but Davis basically ran the show for a Wisconsin team not exactly known for having a modern offensive philosophy. Davis will shine as a two-way talent because of his defensive tenacity and bucket-getting prowess. Over time, he’ll need to trade some of his mid-range attempts for 3-point shots if he wants to fit in the modern NBA as an off-ball guard.

Becoming a reliable outside threat isn’t going to come without putting in some serious time, but Davis has never shied away from that. 

“I always wanted to play professionally at the highest level. I figured that if I wanted to be in that position, that I was going to have to work at an unbelievable rate,” Davis said. “I’m trying to make sure that I enjoy the process I’m going through right now, but [I’m] just more focused on getting into the gym and getting as better.” 

In addition to a varied two-way game, Davis also plans to bring a competitive fire to whichever team he ends up joining. When it comes to goals for his rookie season, Davis really only has one. 

“The main goal is to win as many games as possible, make it to the postseason and win an NBA championship,” he said. “The individual accolades will come as well, but the main goal is just to win.” 

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