NEW YORK — Tyler Davis is drenched in sweat just minutes after the West Team finishes its final practice Thursday for Friday’s Jordan Brand Classic. He grabs bottles of Gatorade and water, both of which look really tiny in the hands of the 6-9 center from Plano West (Plano, Texas).
He helped his high school team win the state 6A title, but that was more than a month ago and frankly, he doesn’t get to play against talent like this every day.
“It’s a lot faster playing with guys like Ivan (Rabb) and Zim (Stephen Zimmerman),” Davis said. “It’s definitely different than playing with a 6-3 center who’s not going to run the floor that well. And with the break between the state title game and now, I wasn’t going up and down that much, but I’m still giving it everything I’ve got. Even though I was out of breath a lot, I was still trying to play my game.”
Davis signed with Texas A&M. He’s one of only six players in the Jordan Brand Classic who weren’t invited to the McDonald’s All American Game, not that he’s keeping score.
“Definitely, there’s a little chip on my shoulder,” Davis said. “I’m not out here trying to get 25 points,, though. Some people are going to respect my game and some won’t, so I’m just going to be me out there.”
While Davis gives up a couple of inches to the tallest players here, he is a muscular 269 pounds and knows how to use his bulk to his advantage. On a couple of occasions, he was able to spin past Zimmerman and then finish at the rim, using his positioning to keep anyone from blocking his shot.
“I think he’s one of the premier guys you’ll see in the next couple of years who is good at posting, sealing his defender, making contact and then keeping contact with the defense, so they can’t get around him,” West Team coach Kevin Boyle of Montverde (Fla.) Academy said. “I think he has the potential to have a long career in the NBA.”
Davis said that he’ll work on improving his advantage in college.
“I definitely have to get in the weight room,” he said. “I have to keep improving my body. That’s something I have to use to my advantage because my athletic ability is not as great as some of the guys we’re going to play against. Almost like an Al Jefferson or Zack Randolph kind of game.”