Davis no longer a hidden talentPerspectives MSA star Anthony Davis dunks for the Meanstreets during club basketball competition in Merrillville.
Updated: March 23, 2011 12:34PM
The Chicago Sun-Times covered nearly 700 boys high school basketball games last season. Anthony Davis, who just might be the best high school player in the country, didn't play in any of them.
Davis played for Perspectives MSA -- a co-op team with players from Perspectives Joslin and Perspectives MSA -- in the Public League Blue-West, a league that receives almost no attention from media or college scouts. Perspectives Joslin is located at 1930 S. Archer, an area surrounded by basketball-powerhouse high schools Davis chose not to attend.
''Most of the coaches on the South Side knew him as the little guy who would shoot threes from the corner in junior high,'' Simeon coach Robert Smith said. ''There weren't schools dying to get him on their team.''
Davis grew to 6 feet by the end of his freshman year, then 6-4 as a sophomore and 6-7 to start his junior year. That's when a select group of South Side coaches first took notice.
Davis' family considered transferring to a basketball powerhouse, reportedly looking at Simeon, Hyde Park, Robeson and Bogan.
''I know his dad well,'' Hyde Park coach Donnie Kirksey said. ''I told him to leave his son where he was, that he would be fine. He's a solid kid. If you're good enough, they'll find you wherever you are.''
Davis grew to 6-10 before his senior season, but no one seemed to notice that an elite national talent was playing on the South Side.
Perspectives MSA finished the season 8-15 despite a stellar season from Davis. His only scholarship offer was from Cleveland State.
In April, he joined the club team Meanstreets, founded and coached by former Thornton star and NFL wide receiver Tai Streets. After playing nationally with Meanstreets this spring and summer, Davis is considered one of the top three players in the national class of 2011, and NBADraft.net projects him as the sixth pick in the 2012 draft.
His first major coming-out party was a club-basketball event in Indiana in mid-April.
''I didn't want to go over the top after seeing him just one time,'' recruiting analyst Joe Henricksen said. ''But after multiple times watching him play at various events, it became abundantly clear that he was one of the best players in the country. He's 6-10 and is incredibly skilled at passing, hitting a three and a soft mid-range jumper, and he can absolutely disrupt things defensively with his length and timing.''
Davis had never played club basketball.
''During the high school season, no one knew I existed,'' he said. ''I knew I could play. I haven't been intimidated this summer. Things have gotten intense, but it's been fun.''
Henricksen said Davis ranks among the top 10 prospects he has seen in Illinois, a list that includes Kevin Garnett, Derrick Rose and Quentin Richardson.
''He's more than legit,'' Henricksen said. ''In April or May, you could have maybe said he was an Internet sensation, but after some of the signature performances, there's a consensus among local and national guys that he's one of the top three or five players in the country.''
Davis' father, Anthony Sr., said Davis made his decision Monday. He just isn't telling anyone yet.
Davis Sr. said the family is still mulling the best way to announce it.
''Anthony knows where he wants to go, but we just aren't sure how to let everyone else know at this point,'' Davis Sr. said. ''He's mentioned wanting to do it on television before.''
A source says Davis will choose Kentucky. The Kentucky-based blog ''Nation of Blue'' has reported that two unnamed sources also are claiming Davis has chosen Kentucky.
Davis Sr. responded via text when asked Monday if Kentucky would be his son's choice: ''Tell them 2 have fun guessing.''
Davis visited Kentucky on Sunday and DePaul on Monday. He took a class trip to Ohio State last year but hasn't visited Syracuse, the other school on his list.