Former Pepperdine Basketball Player Taking the Court for Big3 in return to US

Former Pepperdine Waves men’s basketball player Stacy Davis munched on one heck of a celebratory meal at his home in Arizona on May 25. 

Baked chicken with pesto aioli and melted cheese sandwiched between two buns. The cuisine was so good Davis had to make another, then another. 

“The sandwich was fire,” said Davis, who was Pepperdine’s all-time top scorer and rebounder when he graduated in 2016. “It was insanely good. I had to run it back. I ate one like two, three nights in a row.”

The commemorative meal was well deserved: The 27-year-old hoopster was drafted into the Big3, the 3-on-3 basketball league co-founded by hip hop musician and actor Ice Cube, just before he put together his culinary masterpiece. Davis, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound forward, watched the league’s YouTube broadcast as the Ball Hogs, one of the 5-year-old organization’s 12 teams, selected him with the fourth pick in the 22-player draft. 

Davis has laced up his basketball sneakers for professional teams in six different nations since his senior season at Pepperdine, so he is excited to have the chance to play professional hoops in his home country.

Former Pepperdine basketball player Stacy Davis is shown in action for the Polish professional team King Szczecin earlier this year. Davis will be returning to the U.S. to play for Big3, the 3-on-3 basketball league. Contributed Photos

“This is the first time I will be able to play professional basketball in the United States,” Davis said. “It means a lot. This will be my first time playing here since I was in college. My family and friends can watch me play without having to wake up at like 7 a.m. or 6 a.m. to watch my games on the Internet.” 

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The Big3 features rosters composed of former NBA players and players who have taken the court for international squads. The league’s teams face off each weekend during summer months in a barnstorming-like tour across various U.S. cities. Top past NBA players such as Allen Iverson, Amar’e Stoudemire, Cuttino Mobley, and Nate Robinson have played in the league since its inaugural season in 2017. 

Davis called the league innovative. He pointed to its four-point shot, which sits beyond the three-point line, and to how all of the Big3’s teams are selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

“Everyone involved in the league has done a great job,” he said. “There is a lot that goes into what they do that I have noticed. The league has blossomed in the last couple of years, and I am really excited about that.”

Davis was one of the two players selected by the Ball Hogs in the two-round draft. The other player drafted was 6-foot-11 Kuran Iverson. The two rookies are joining a Ball Hogs roster that includes longtime NBA guards Leandro Barbosa and Jodie Meeks, and Will McDonald, an experienced overseas player. The team is coached by NBA legend Rick Barry. 

Davis said his opportunity to put on a Big3 jersey came from his stellar play with and against Barbosa, the former Phoenix Sun, in pickup games at Arizona State University several years ago. Around the end of his season with the Polish team King Szczecin this spring, Davis was contacted by a mutual acquaintance of his and Barbosa’s. 

The former Wave soon learned that Barbosa had been impressed by Davis’ skills in pickup games. Barbosa, one of the Ball Hogs’ captains, and the Barry were also impressed by the game film they had seen of Davis.When Barbosa and Barry contacted Davis, they told him they wanted him to join the Ball Hogs. 

“Rick Barry liking my game, Leandro liking my game is very gratifying and reassuring,” Davis said. “To get that nod of acknowledgement to who I am as a basketball player and how my game looks and how I play the game from a NBA Hall of Famer and someone that was a 10-plus year NBA veteran is amazing.” 

Davis averaged 17.8 points a contest for King Szczecin last season. A highlight video of Davis playing for King Szczecin shows the former Pepperdine player wearing No. 4 and splashing jump shots from all over the court, finishing layups, and being a strong presence on defense. Under the 3-minute highlight video posted by AGHighlights on March 14, someone posted three fire emojis. 

He averaged 17.8 points a game for the Hungarian team Alba Fehervarduring the 2020-21 season. Davis has also played for squads in Finland, France, Mexico, Slovakia, and Ukraine. He has scored at least 10 points and hauled in at least five rebounds a game for every team he has played on. 

Davis scored 1,786 points and grabbed 994 rebounds during his stellar four-year college career. 

A recap of the draft on the Big3’s website says the Ball Hogs added toughness and versatility to their squad by selecting Davis, who has the mentality of a inside player and the speed and scoring talent of a guard. 

“Davis isn’t exactly a knock-down shooter, but he has to be respected from beyond the arc and has consistently shot in the mid-30s from deep throughout his professional career,” the analysis reads. “In short, Davis is a jack of all trades who can score inside, rebound, hit the outside shot when the situation calls for it, and be effective in just about any role he’s asked to play.”

The Big3’s nine-week season tips off with a slate of games June 18-19 in Chicago. The league will also play games in the Windy City June 25-26 before heading to Dallas for the first weekend of July. The Big3’s playoffs and championship will be in late August at a location to be determined. The league will host its all-star game on Sept. 4 in the Bahamas. All the games will be broadcast and streamed live on CBS and Paramount+.

Davis believes can be a successful player in the Big3. He’s played with and beat NBA and other professional players in summer pickup games. 

“I have no reservations in the head or in my heart about me going out there and competing,” he said. “It is going to be fun. I can hold my own against anybody.”

By playing in the Big3, Davis noted, other opportunities in basketball could dribble to him. 

“It never hurts to play in the United States professionally,” he said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to play in something as innovative and fresh as the Big3 is.” 

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