The rise of Wisconsin superstar Johnny Davis

Alright, let’s paint a picture right away. A kid from LaCrosse, Wisconsin playing the sport that his dad loved. Johnny Davis is a kid from Wisconsin who wanted a chance. Davis was a successful multi-sport athlete in high school at LaCrosse Central. This is where things all started for the star player we know today. Think of this story like a butterfly eventually bursting out of its cocoon.

Johnny Davis’ Time in High School

LaCrosse Central High School is the setting where the 19-year-old got his opportunity to be just like his father. To play collegiate basketball, and make it to the pros. Davis played both football and basketball during his time in high school. He showed promise in both sports. In his first basketball season, Johnny won a state title. This was just the beginning of a sensational high school career.

Fast-forward to his junior season, Davis continued to pile on the accolades. Averaging 23 points and nine rebounds per contest, Johnny ended up capturing the LaCrosse Tribune Player of the Year award in 2019. Not only did he win the award as a junior, but he also won it as a senior while averaging 27.4 PPG and 9.2 RPG. Johnny Davis capped off his high school basketball career by taking home the title of Wisconsin’s Mr. Basketball. Davis also left LaCrosse Central as the all-time leading scorer in team history. He finished with 2,158 career points.

Not only did the teenager have success on the hardwood, but he also showed out on the football field as well. He ended his football career with All-state honors in his senior season.

Johnny Davis got recruited for his basketball talent. He ended up committing to his home-state school, the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


The Transformation Into a Superstar

Johnny Davis wasn’t a big national recruit from Wisconsin like Tyler Herro, Jalen Johnson, or Patrick Baldwin Jr. He was just a three-star coming out of high school. He had athleticism and potential at the next level. Coming into his freshman year in Madison, it seemed like it would be tough to get minutes with a roster loaded with seniors. This was the case until head coach Greg Gard needed some production from the bench while resting his starters.

Getting playing time, Davis showed a lot of promise when playing with older teammates. He played in all 31 games in the 2020-21 season, averaging 24 minutes per contest. He finished his freshman season averaging just over 7 PPG while shooting 44% from the floor. The potential was there for a promising player. The off-season is where Johnny was ready to burst out of his cocoon.

The summer of 2021 is when the freshman going on sophomore got selected to the 2021 U19 FIBA World Cup team. Even though Davis only averaged about 4 PPG during the tournament, the experience helped him be where he is at this exact moment. With Wisconsin changing over the roster, they went from one of the oldest teams in the country to the youngest. Greg Gard needed “that guy,” someone who can take over when they go cold. Johnny Davis has answered that call with enthusiasm.

Currently, it seems like Davis is comfortable being the number one option on the team. Wisconsin Basketball is known for its slow pace, while not having a ton of athletes. The sophomore has flipped the script on how the Badgers can attack a game. He has fully burst out of his cocoon, flourishing in all aspects of the game. Averaging 22.6 PPG, that is good for fourth in the country in Divison 1 basketball. He also has nine 20+ point performances in 12 games this season. A career-high 37-point performance in West Lafayette propelled the Badgers over #3, Purdue. Nobody should be questioning the talent of sophomore Johnny Davis. What he is doing is simply incredible.

With his sophomore leap, the 6-5, 196-pound guard is surging up NBA draft boards all over the place. He also seems to be the National Player of the Year front-runner, with his consistent, smooth play. As Wisconsin Badger basketball fans, we should not take for granted what Johnny Davis has given to us. It has been a while since we have seen a player give that kind of dominance and production to this program.

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