Raptors Rookie Terence Davis’s Story Should be a Movie

When people talk about the NBA draft, they often focus on the lottery picks who know they will be taking the walk and shaking the hand of the commissioner. For those who are not surefire draft picks, however, the whole experience can be quite different. They have to sit at the edge of their seats in the latest round and find out if their names will be called at all. Terence Davis watched 60 names go by without hearing his name, although the reasons why were not entirely out of his control.

Terence Davis’s rise in college

Staying in his home state of Mississippi, Terence Davis suited up for the Ole Miss basketball team, where he spent four years building his game. Davis initially came off the bench as a role player on the squad, averaging fewer than two points per game in seven minutes. Davis broke out the following season, however, both as a starter and coming off the bench. 

As a sophomore, he increased his scoring to 15 a game, a mark he hovered around for the rest of his college career to go along with six rebounds, a couple of assists, and a steal. He might not have been a superstar in college, but he did lead the team into the NCAA tournament as a ninth seed, where they lost to Oklahoma. 

Heading into the NBA Draft, Davis was a longshot, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his NBA dreams. 

How Terence Davis handled the draft process

Davis received some honors at Ole Miss, but he wasn’t high on any radars. He was, however, good enough for an invite to the Portsmouth invitational, a senior showcase for NBA scouts. He stood out at the event, and according to SBNation, he got an invite to the G League Elite Camp after an injury occurred the day before it started. From there, he was chosen to participate in the NBA Draft combine.

Davis was able to scrimmage, get his vitals measured, and show off for both fans and fellow hopefuls alike. Teams began taking an interest in Davis, but he took a gamble on himself and stated that he was not interested in signing any two-way deals that would send him to the G League. Instead, he wanted a guarantee that he would be on an NBA roster, and that might have been the reason that he was not drafted. 

Davis was undrafted and confident that he would be able to get an NBA Summer League invite that would prove his worth.

Davis proves his worth

Terence Davis bet on himself to make the NBA, and his story is straight out of Hollywood.
Terence Davis as a Raptors rookie in 2019. | Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Davis agreed to join the Denver Nuggets’ team going into Summer League. He would go off for 22 points in the first game with the team, and by the next day, he was being offered a guaranteed contract by the defending champion Toronto Raptors. He accepted, and after the Raptors were bitten by the injury bug, he saw his minutes rise.

Davis might not be getting the attention of other breakout rookies Kendrick Nunn and Eric Paschall, but he’s grown into a steady role with the Toronto Raptors ever since. Since November started, he has been relatively reliable for double-digit scoring performances in 15-20 minutes per game, with one notable 19-point, five-assist, and eight-rebound showing against Orlando following another great performance against Chicago. 

Davis has a limited role with the Raptors, but an important one. While several rookies immediately go to the top of a bad roster, he is part of a loaded roster who is winning games and looks to him for some help off the bench. Despite this, he has been one of the most impactful rookies in the young season and continues to fly under the radar, and perhaps he could be the league’s latest undrafted star.