Former Waves hoopster Stacy Davis excelled in NBA G League

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Team roster shortage in Mexico gave 6-foot-6 forward an opportunity for major playing time 

Stacy Davis’ first season in the NBA G League wasn’t a slam dunk initially. 

The former Pepperdine Waves men’s basketball player joined the roster of the NBA developmental league’s Salt Lake City Stars after a tryout last fall. The 28-year-old spent his previous six professional hoops seasons scoring and rebounding successfully in countries such as France, Hungary, and Mexico, but even before he laced up his sneakers for the Stars, head coach Scott Morrison told Davis that he wouldn’t get a lot of playing time but as the team’s oldest player would be leaned on to provide veteran leadership to the squad composed of players in their 20s shooting for a chance to be promoted to an NBA squad. 

It was a role Davis, who graduated from Pepperdine in 2016 as the basketball program’s all-time top scorer and rebounder, accepted.

“I was the vet, the voice of reason for some guys,” Davis recalled. “I was able to not only relate to them, but get them to understand the bigger picture. Also, I went onto the court as professional and made good use of the minutes I was given.” 

After not receiving major playing time in November and December, things changed in late 2022.

The Stars traveled south of the border to play the Mexico City Capitanes for two contests. Some Stars players were unavailable for the second game on Dec. 30, because of food poisoning. Another player was injured during warmups for the contest. So, Davis was called on to play major minutes and exploded for 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 steals in loss. Davis continued his stellar play in following games and solidified himself as one of the team’s most important players. 

“I showed the coaches I was capable and that they could trust me,” Davis remembered.

Davis strutted his basketball stuff. He scored over 30 points in a contest and had a triple-double in another. He helped the Stars go on a six-game winning streak in late January and early February. 

The 6-foot-6, 245-pound forward wasn’t expected to have that type of an impact against skilled opponents that are dribbles away from NBA rosters, but he stayed ready to play.

“If my number was called I was ready to go,” Davis stated. “That was a way I showed I was a vet — by my actions. When you get to a certain level, put in enough work, and have enough confidence in your abilities, it becomes less about the athleticism and all those other things. During the summers, I have played against NBA guys and have done my thing. This was no different. I did well.” 

Davis scored a season-high 36 points and snagged 13 rebounds in a loss to the Lakeland Magic in February. 

The scoring started for Davis when he grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup. He next scored on a tip-in. Then, Davis swished a floater in the lane. There was a mid-range jumper from behind the foul line. Davis nailed a hook shot and sometime later splashed a deep three-point shot. Don’t forget his two-hand dunk to complete a fast break. Davis scored in a myriad of ways but doesn’t consider it his best performance of the season. 

Davis said a win over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, in which he tallied 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists, was his top outing. 

“I rebounded well, passed well, facilitated, created, and scored,” Davis recalled. “I was in the flow of the game.”

Davis often talked with younger players about not getting frustrated with a lack of playing time. Being a pro of seven seasons wasn’t a negative.

“There wasn’t this, ‘I’m the old guy on the team,’” Davis said. “Yea, I’m bald, but I’m two years older than the next oldest guy.” 

He averaged 12.2 points and 6 rebounds in 31 games for the Stars.

Davis played last summer for the Ball Hogs in the Big3, a 12-team, 3-on-3 basketball league that features rosters composed mostly of former NBA players. Before that, Davis spent each season since graduating from Pepperdine playing basketball overseas. 

He wanted to play basketball in the U.S. this season to be closer to his 6-year-old daughter Saniyah, who will be a first-grader the upcoming school year. Saniyah previously visited her dad once a season in whatever international locale he was in. 

Davis is one of a handful of former Waves men’s hoops players plying their trade in the professional ranks. Guard Colbey Ross, who overtook Davis as Pepperdine’s all-time top scorer, plays in Europe. Forward Kessler Edwards plays for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. The Los Angeles Lakers drafted wing player Maxwell Lewis last month. 

Many of Davis’ Pepperdine teammates and other past Waves hoopsters, are amazed Davis is maintaining a pro basketball career. 

“They are proud of me,” Davis said. “It’s a win for all of us.” 

Stars coaches weren’t shocked by Davis’ excellent play this season. The team’s general manager, Marquis Newman, advocated for Davis to get a spot on the Utah Jazz roster at the end of the NBA regular season.

“I was right there,” Davis said. “I was so close. It just wasn’t in the cards. It sucks to have not gotten there, but to be recognized by GMs and decision makers as someone that could eventually get that is good affirmation for myself.”

Davis aims to retire from basketball around age 35, and wants to eventually be a NBA general manager. 

“I’m very passionate and interested in it,” he said. “I would love to be in the front office of a NBA organization in any capacity. I could provide value on that side of the game.” 

Davis hasn’t decided where he will play next season, but he is happy with his career.

“It hasn’t been everything I dreamed about at all,” he explained. “It has been frustrating and rewarding. It has been unique, but it’s been me. When I’m done playing and I look back on my journey, I will have left no stone unturned. I showed that on any level against anybody, I can play against anyone and produce. I’m grateful and appreciative that I have been able to do it this long.”