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Anthony Davis says Olympics made him more confident

Aug 21, 2012, 1:51 PM EDT

Anthony Davis AP

Anthony Davis pretty much fell backwards on to the London Olympic team. Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski like him as a prospect, but it took injuries to Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin (his in training camp) for Team USA to get desperate enough to grab the No. 1 overall pick of the Hornets.

He got some run — he was basically a human victory cigar and averaged 4.3 points a game — but that was not the big deal. It was the confidence, Anthony told the Times-Picayune (via SLAM).

“Those guys on the Olympic team treated me like I belonged and it boosted my confidence,” Davis said this past weekend from New York where he was participating in the NBA’s rookie transition program. “When I got in games, I felt more confidence. They talked to me and told me what to do, so it definitely was great.”

“A lot of them shared their perspective on the game and the whole team took me under their wings and showed me the ropes,” Davis said.

Even for the best college players, the NBA is an adjustment — it’s a job now. You’ve got 82 games, a lot more travel, a lot more is expected of you on the court, there are a lot more temptations off it. You have to learn to be professional.

Anthony Davis just got a crash course in it from the very best players walking the planet. He got to see Kobe Bryant’s work ethic, he got to see how Kevin Durant prepares himself, how LeBron James handles games and fame. That is invaluable stuff to soak up. It pushes him along the learning curve so much farther, so much faster than his fellow rookies. He may or may not be the Rookie of the Year, but he is the guy expected to lead the Hornets into the future, and he just watched 11 of the best guys in team leading up close. That is huge.

Plus, the gold medal is pretty sweet.

  1. magicbucs - Aug 21, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Did it help Christian Laettner?

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      Contrary to popular belief, Christian Laettner was no bum in the pros dude. Sure he was not on the same level as anyone on the dream team then and even later on in his career, but he was certainly no bum.

      • LPad - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:26 PM

        he actually had some good stats a few years averaging around 16 pts and 8 rebs. still shouldn’t have been on the dream team.

  2. therealgts - Aug 21, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Haha. Great point. I’d love to say there is no comparison but Lattener was way way better than Davis as a college player and sucked in the pros. Very interesting comparison

    • nomad57 - Aug 21, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      Lattener had already peaked after 4 years of college. Davis is still plenty raw and thus has plenty of talent to realize yet.

  3. baron30 - Aug 21, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Im sure he learned a lot about tearing through professional groupies too

  4. therealgts - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Peaked? The Average NBA player hits his athletic peak at like 28 or 29. Laatener was just too white and not athletic enough to thrive in the NBA. Look at Adam Morrison. Same story. It’s not a matter of peaking it’s just a matter of translation into the NBA game

    • nomad57 - Aug 21, 2012 at 11:54 PM

      Yes Laettener peaked by the end of college career. I’m not saying he wasn’t good in the pros, I’m saying he never got appreciably better. He had a pretty polished game when he got there. He had spent 4 year at THE college program of that era with one of the great coaches of all time. He saw everything you could see in college. He was 23 I believe we he entered the NBA. Davis is 19, give him time.

  5. papichulo55 - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    The rookies new team has a lot to do with everything. Davis will do well because he is clearly the future of his franchise. And he has ball handling skills that will help him create his own shots. His only potential downside is learning when to contest shots. He knows he will be a defensive force. I can easily imagine someone like Paul Pierce tricking him, and Davis spending a lot of time on the bench due to foul trouble.

  6. lakerluver - Aug 21, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    The “Uni-Bro” is gonna be nice! Real nice. I’m talking superstar nice.

  7. jhuck92 - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    It looks like you need all the confidence you can get when you have a unibrow

  8. imforbigblue - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    to say CL was better than davis in college is a joke! Davis as freshman broke the ncaa shot blocking record lead his team to a NC and won every award you could win in one year and won gold and still is only 19. You can hate all you want but davis will be very good in a few years in the NBA

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