Coming Soon to a Lottery Team Near You

Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis (23) shoots over Vanderbilt's Festus Ezeli (3), the newest member of It Goes to XI's All-Name Team. Photo by James Crisp (AP), courtesy of cnnsi.com.

Anthony Davis of top-ranked Kentucky posted the line of the day yesterday against SEC rival Vanderbilt.  Davis went for a career-high 28 points (10-11 from the floor, 8-9 from the line), grabbed 11 rebounds, blocked 6 shots, and topped it off with two assists.  The win over Vanderbilt was Kentucky’s 20th in a row, and clinched the Wildcats’ 45th SEC regular-season title.

Davis with the rejection during Kentucky's first defeat of Vanderbilt this year. Sorry, Festus! Photo by Mark Cornelison (Lexington Herald-Leader), courtesy of cnnsi.com.

For the season, Davis averages a team-best 14.3 points per game and also leads Kentucky in rebounding (9.8 per game) and blocked shots (an eye-popping total of 138).  Depending on the number of games that Kentucky plays in the SEC and NCAA tournaments, Davis has a chance to break the Division I record for blocks in a season, which was set in the 1985-1986 season by the Naval Academy’s David Robinson (207 in 35 games).  (Asterisk alert: the NCAA has only kept official records of blocked shots since that 1985-1986 season.  Who knows how many Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, or Lew Alcindor sent into the stands?)

Like Robinson before him, Davis was the beneficiary of a late and drastic growth spurt that helped to make him one of the most sought-after basketball recruits in the country.  Even after just one season of college basketball, it’s hard to imagine that he will not be the first pick in this spring’s NBA draft.  Fans in New Orleans and Charlotte are surely salivating.

Should he choose the professional route at the end of this season, Davis could do worse than to follow in the footsteps of another lottery pick coached by John Calipari, Marcus Camby of UMass.

Veteran Marcus Camby tallies two points for his current NBA club, the Portland Trail Blazers. Photo courtesy of leknott.com.

After leading the Calipari’s Minutemen to the Final Four (a finish since vacated by the NCAA) in his junior year, Camby entered the 1996 NBA draft, where he was the second overall selection by the Toronto Raptors.  (The Sixers picked first that year and selected Hampton’s own Allen Iverson.)

Camby is currently in his 16th NBA season, and as a soon-to-be 38-year-old, is currently the 6th-oldest player in the league (tip of the cap to sportige.com).  After playing in Toronto, New York, Denver, and L.A. (for the Clippers), Camby is currently with his sixth franchise, the Portland Trail Blazers.

Like fine wine, Camby has improved with age. Camby was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2006-2007, his 11th year in the league, and made the NBA All-Defensive Team the following year.  This year, he has started all 31 Blazer games in which he has appeared.  By contrast, during the labor-abbreviated season of 1998-1999, Camby was a key piece for the Eastern Conference champion Knicks squad, but didn’t start a game until the NBA Finals.  Although Camby is likely in the twilight of his career and is not a focus of the Blazers’ offense (3.8 points per game this season), he is still starting and contributing for an NBA team contending for a playoff spot.

Check back here to see where Anthony Davis is playing in the 2027-2028 season.

Current NBA player Marcus Camby (21) finished his college career during the first Clinton administration. Photo courtesy of photobucket.com.

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