Anthony Davis’ extraordinary talents warranted the honor anyways, but thanks to the voting of the Big Blue Nation, Davis will be featured in the Jan. 9 “NEXT” issue of ESPN The Magazine.
Davis was voted as “the next big thing” in basketball from a pool of several other promising prospects. The prize? Davis gets to be featured inside the magazine with a story written by Elena Bergeron. The article, which we have an excerpt of below, profiles his ascent from a 6-foot-3 high school guard to a 6-10 shot-blocking machine for the University of Kentucky.
Fans can read the full story here, but here is a small excerpt:
UNTIL 24 MONTHS AGO, Anthony Davis was a nondescript set of initials. “Most people call me AD; I’ve never had nicknames based on my game,” says the Kentucky forward. Of course not. Nicknames are a statement, affectionate and brief, describing the most obvious hook of a person.
When he was an oversize infant born in Chicago, his family took to calling him Fat Man — a name that held most of the way through high school. But when puberty (and the basketball gods) stretched him seven inches over a few months during his junior year, it was time for a new moniker. Now, seeing the 6’10″ Davis creeping along the court in practice, sticky limbs shooting out from nowhere, Kentucky coach John Calipari has taken to calling him Spider-Man. “He just goes ‘pfft’ and his arms go and he’s hanging in the air,” Calipari says.
Davis is just starting to get comfortable inside his taffy physique — his version of a superhero suit. Two months into the season, the 220-pound freshman has already saved a win against North Carolina, snuffing John Henson’s last-second jumper like spit on a birthday candle. On that play alone, Davis showed why he isn’t just Tall Guy or Big Fella.
It also proved that he’s figured out how to control those yards of limbs to his advantage. And people are taking notice. Fewer than 10 games into his college career, Davis was already being eyed as the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA draft. Says a Western Conference scout of the Henson block, “I saw that and I just thought, He’s the type of player who justifies the entire NBA draft process.”