Denver Nuggets guard Jordan Davis stopped to reflect after his Vegas Summer League debut Sunday — an 84-79 victory over the Orlando Magic at Cox Pavilion.
There is, indeed, no place like home.
Davis, a Canyon Springs High graduate, logged nine minutes for Denver and recorded an assist and two steals. The 6-foot-2-inch guard is vying to begin a professional career after four years at Northern Colorado, where he blossomed into one of the country’s best midmajor players.
“Being able to have this moment is big,” said Davis, who played club basketball for the Las Vegas Prospects. “It’s a beautiful experience to come home and play here.”
Davis excelled at the prep and club levels and led the Pioneers to consecutive state tournament berths. He averaged 17 points as a junior in 2013-14 and 21.3 points as a senior in 2014-15, but was still sparsely recruited by high-major programs.
So he signed with the Bears, with whom he averaged 17.5 points from 2015-19 amid empowerment and development under head coach Jeff Linder and his staff.
“He pushed me to be the next guard that came out of the Big Sky Conference,” Davis said, noting he believed after his sophomore season that he could play professionally. “They pushed me every day. They ultimately taught me what it looked like to work as an NBA player.”
Davis averaged 23.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists during his senior season of 2018-19, and capped his collegiate career by capturing Big Sky Player of the Year honors. He wasn’t drafted last month, but signed a Summer League deal with the Nuggets and hopes to prove he’s a capable pro.
At Northern Colorado, Davis was among the national leaders in usage rate, and used ball screens to create shot opportunities for himself and his teammates. With the Nuggets so far, he says he’s learning how to sacrifice and fit into a new role as a defensive specialist who can score when open or in transition.
“Jordan is growing on everybody,” Nuggets Summer League coach Jordi Fernandez said. “First day, you’re like ‘Well, he’s the local kid.’ Then you like him. Then you love him. Then you play him, and he just plays hard.”
Centennial grad comes home
Troy Brown Jr., who attended Centennial High, made a strong return to his hometown.
He finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds late Saturday, and his three-point play with 18.4 seconds left helped the Washington Wizards defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 84-79.
Brown, a 6-foot-7-inch forward, is a second-year pro. He was drafted 15th overall by the Wizards in 2018 out of Oregon. He averaged 4.8 points as a rookie.
“Last year, I was so focused on the wrong things and not realizing it’s just basketball,” Brown said. “I put so much pressure on. I wanted to be so great so fast, and that’s not how it works. You have to learn and keep getting better at my speed.”