Raptors Lead

Terence Davis Stepping Up for Toronto

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With Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Norman Powell — and now Fred VanVleet — all missing significant time over the past couple of weeks, undrafted rookie Terence Davis has been called upon for additional floor time.

Although disruptive, injuries are something that we have come to expect throughout a long NBA season. Nick Nurse has been in position to go deep into his roster and adjust. Already a few young players have shined in the spotlight, as we’ve seen Oshae Brissett, Chris Boucher and Terence Davis be effective with their minutes. These players now have opportunities to leap. We saw just that with Terence Davis, who put up team-high 23 points along with 11 rebounds, five assists, a steal and zero turnovers last Wednesday against the Hornets.

After coming off a tough game against the Blazers, Nurse challenged Davis, claiming, “He’s not playing very well.” Davis clearly heard the message and came out strong against the Hornets in an overtime Thriller. Per Yahoo! Sports, the rookie had this to say:

“I take it as a challenge. When he said that, I love it. That’s the way you want it when you’re a player. The great thing about it in this league is you have game after game.”

 

Questionable Decisions

The interesting part about Terence Davis is that before dedicating himself to basketball, he thought his career lied in football. While being a multi-sport athlete at South Haven High, Davis was a household name on the field before the court. Davis believed that at 6-4 and with big hands (Measuring at 10.75”, the biggest among guards entering the league since 2010), he could be a dominant receiver.

Therefore, it shocked his friends and family when Davis decided to commit himself to basketball and challenged his abilities by joining Ole Miss as a guard. In his freshman year, Davis only averaged 1.8 PPG on 6.6 MPG. Per Joshua Lewenberg of TSN, Davis had contemplated whether he made the right choice after his freshman season.

Deja Vu

Davis continued to push himself and ultimately ended up playing four seasons with Ole Miss. And although he saw his minutes and stat lines rise, Davis was not ranked among the top 80 guards going into the draft. Davis ended up going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, and this again was his own decision. According to his agent, Adam Pensack, multiple teams including the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers had shown interest in drafting Davis. But these teams were only interested in offering him a two-way deal, which put Davis in the position of a non-guaranteed contract.

But Davis wanted an opportunity to take his talents to a team that believed in him. As a result, he chose to go undrafted. Following the draft night, Davis retweeted a video Raptor fans are all too familiar with of Fred VanVleet on stage after going undrafted. As upset as he was, he was still hungry.

Bet on Yourself, a statement coined by Fred VanVleet, was a statement that Davis truly did believe. He was physical, athletic, had the speed, and knew he could play in the league. After going undrafted, Tim Connelly, the president of the Denver Nuggets called Davis offering him an opportunity to play for them during the 2019 Summer League and he accepted. In his debut, Davis scored 22 points on 8-13 shooting, while draining 5-7 on threes, while grabbing five rebounds. Davis hustled on both ends of the floor with a tough on-court presence on defense as well — something the Raptors franchise expects from their players. After only one game, the Raptors called Davis’ agent and offered him a guaranteed deal worth $2.5 million.

The Raptors have been able to shape the careers of 27th overall pick Pascal Siakam, sixth-man finalist Fred VanVleet, and now Terence Davis. Davis is currently averaging 7.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.8 APG on 45.4 percent shooting, including 38.2 percent from long range.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. The opportunity is now, and with a rehabilitating Raptors roster, Davis is up for the challenge.

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About Uday Saluja

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