Raptors’ Terence Davis Poised to Follow in Fred VanVleet’s Foot Steps
Similar to the case of Fred VanVleet, most Toronto Raptors fans probably had to Google the name Terence Davis back on July 11 when the relatively unknown prospect out of Ole Miss signed a two-year deal with the organization.
An undrafted senior, Davis is a 22-year old rookie – one of the oldest of his class – seemingly fell through the cracks after opting to bet on himself as opposed to signing a two-way contract or getting a non-guaranteed deal late in the NBA Draft.
Bet on himself?
That should sound rather familiar to Raptor fans.
“I never heard of him,” VanVleet admitted, who similar to Davis, shut out the noise and bet on himself back in the Summer of 2016 after he too went undrafted out of Wichita State. “I didn’t know who he was. I don’t watch a lot of college basketball anymore, so I hadn’t heard of him.
Fact is, not many people knew the name Terence Davis either. When one thinks of Ole Miss, they immediately think of the SEC football prominence and not so much the basketball. Not many people realized that Davis enjoyed a very successful four years at the school, much like VanVleet did over at Wichita State. Yet, when VanVleet heard of Davis and Davis’ story, he knew that if any veteran was to mentor the team’s new rookie, it had to be him.
“I just wanted to meet him,” VanVleet said. “We talked a bit. He had good energy and I saw he’s a pretty good player as well. He asked a lot of questions. He was like, ‘If there’s anything you could tell me or show me, please do.’ So we talked a little bit and then I invited him to dinner.”
Not much of a natural point guard, at 6-foot-4, Davis is an undersized wing and a former standout football player who opted to focus solely on basketball.
“I was already getting backlash for not deciding to play football from friends and colleagues,” Davis told TSN. “That’s when I really told myself that I can’t let these people be right. I really locked in on getting in the gym and getting better and putting the effort and the time into the game of basketball.”
No stranger to doubters, the perception around Davis changed in a hurry, when the undrafted rookie dropped 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting, including five made three pointers in his Summer League debut.
“It took all of one half to see him against NBA players,” Raptors Assistant General Manager Dan Tolzman said. “The speed, athleticism, his physicality, his rhythm of the game in that setting – it was kind of like, okay, this guy looks like an official NBA player. And we moved on him.”
Shortly after his breakout game, Davis received a two year deal worth $2.5-million, with $900,000 fully guaranteed for the first year.
Call it the Fred VanVleet gene, but Terence Davis bet on himself and it paid off!