Stacy Davis, a former Pepperdine Waves basketball star, is shooting to dribble, dunk and score on American basketball courts this season.
Davis is looking to play in the G League, the NBA’s developmental league.
The 6-foot-6, 240-pound forward has played basketball professionally overseas since graduating from Pepperdine in 2016, but now he wants to play basketball in the U.S. to be closer to his 5-year-old daughter, Saniyah, who started school this year.
“It’s very paramount for me to give the G League a try,” said Davis, one of the top scorers and rebounders in Pepperdine basketball history. “I might not necessarily be in Phoenix, but being on a team in the same time zone, the same country where she is a two- or three-hour flight away to visit me on the weekends is important.”
Davis has been in talks with a few of the G League’s 30 teams. He plans to attend some workouts soon before the league’s draft on Oct. 23.
Saniyah normally visited her dad once a season for some time in whatever international locale he was scoring and rebounding in during past basketball seasons.
Davis spent the summer playing in the Big3, a 12-team basketball league that features rosters composed mostly of former NBA players. The teams square off in 3-on-3 basketball.
Davis played for the Ball Hogs, who were captained by former NBA guard Leandro Barbosa and coached by Hall of Fame player Rick Barry. He averaged 6.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2 assists a game for the team, which finished the season with a 1-5 record.
Playing in the Big3, Davis said, was a great experience.
“I feel really good about just getting the opportunity,” he said. “I had a fun time. It was exciting; it was exhilarating, and very intense too because every game really matters.”
Davis has competed in basketball leagues in Finland, France, Hungary, Mexico, Slovakia, and Ukraine. He averaged 17.8 points a game for King Szczecin, a team in Poland, last season.
The basketball player said play in the Big3 was different from overseas competition since the American league is half-court hoops with no fast breaks.
“The competition level was obviously a little better,” Davis said. “These are former NBA guys — world-class athletes — that are older, but they can still play.”
Davis believes he didn’t play his best basketball in the league because he was focused mostly on playing defense and taking open shots.
“I thought I showed that I can compete, showed that I have the intangibles to help a team win,” he said.
The former Waves player said his best performance was against 3’s Company on July 23. Davis scored 8 points, snagged 6 rebounds and recorded 2 blocks in the Ball Hogs’ 50-47 loss.
“I shot the ball well and defended really well,” he said.
Davis had 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals in the Ball Hogs’ 50-37 loss to the Aliens on July 17. That was another of his better showings, he recalled.
The former Waves player toughest matchups were against Joe Johnson, a seven-time NBA All-Star, and Michael Beasley, the second selection in the 2008 NBA Draft.
“I was very impressed by their games,” Davis said. “Those two had a knack for scoring. It felt really good to go against them and make it tough for them. I wasn’t going to allow them to just score on me easy.”
Davis enjoyed the off the court interactions he had with his basketball peers and NBA legends also. One day, Davis and his mother, Felicia Davis, caught a gameday ride with Lakers legend Michael Cooper and said hello to Hall of Famer Julius “Dr. J” Erving.
“It was a dope experience to be around all those legends and compete with them as well,” he said. “It was one for the books.”
Davis’ mother hadn’t seen him play in person since he starred at Pepperdine. Felicia and Saniyah were in the gym for one of his Big3 games. Being able to see his daughter more during hoops season is the driving factor in Davis’ pursuit to play in the G League.
“It meant the world to see her after a game and how happy she was to spend time with her grandma and to see me play,” he said. “Her seeing me play is what I have dreamed of. That was an indescribable feeling.”