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Terence Davis Jr. bet on himself and won

A visual timeline of TD’s early Raptor rise.

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Terence Davis Jr. was passed over by 30 teams in the NBA Draft. Twice.

On Wednesday, less than six months later, the former Ole Miss Rebel dropped 15 points, and secured 6 rebounds in 31 minutes to help the Toronto Raptors to a 114-106 win over the Portland Trailblazers.

For Raptor fans, he is an unexpected rising rookie who is playing significant minutes down the stretch on a young, talented roster off of a world championship. Davis is making an impact alongside Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol, and the league is beginning to take notice as his minutes rise.

However, his abilities are not unfamiliar for those who have watched Davis’ hard-nosed play in Oxford. In fact, his performance was incredibly consistent with his stat line under Andy Kennedy and Kermit Davis. Over his final three years in college, he averaged 14.6 points and 5.77 rebounds in 27.87 minutes per game.

Davis, who grew up in Southaven, Mississippi has been a physical athlete since high school. As one of the top wide receivers in the state, Davis developed physicality, agility, and strength that was unmatched when he translated it to the hardwood.

Despite his recruitment from FBS football programs around the country, Davis chose to stay in-state and play basketball at Ole Miss. After a freshman year with insignificant minutes, Davis began to make his mark over 20 games as a sophomore.

He then led the team in scoring amidst a disappointing 2017-2018 season for the Rebels.

As a senior, he was the 10th-highest average scorer in the SEC, led the team in assists and rebounds and brought a team that means so much to him back to the NCAA tournament.

Davis out-hustles, out-works, and out-grinds every other player on the court on both ends. He crushed every team and combine workout, and epitomizes leadership. Yet somehow, on draft night, teams were only interested in selecting him on the condition that he would sign a two-way contract— meaning he would play primarily in the G-League with limited opportunities on the NBA level.

Davis took a chance on himself, turned down the opportunities, and signed a NBA Summer League contract with the Denver Nuggets. His play immediately resembled that of his time at Ole Miss.

On defense, he was an unrelenting force.

That ability to chase down defenders didn’t waver.

On offense, his game immediately showed up on the next level with 22 points in his NBA debut. As Davis continued consistent productivity in the Summer League, the Raptors took notice and signed him to a two-year full-time NBA contract in July.

The bet on himself paid off.

Now 11 games into his first full season, Davis’ play continues to show the same caliber of power from his collegiate career.

No matter the level, get out of his way.

He put this poor Tennessee Volunteer on a poster.

And did the same with a Houston Rocket.

The Raptors are now 8-3 to begin the year, coming off of a West Coast trip against the Lakers, the Clippers and the Trailblazers. In those three games Davis averaged 11 points, four rebounds and two assists. He put his high-flying ability on display against the Clippers.

Just the night before, Davis matched LeBron James’ 13 points, in half of the minutes. Late in the game, he hit a clutch shot with the opposing bench in his ear to put an exclamation mark on the end of an eventual 113-104 victory.

Terence Davis Jr. is as good as he always was. There is a new King after the throne.