Great bloodlines

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He went from 6-feet-1 as an eight-grader to 6-feet-6 as a ninth-grader ... and, in the precess, he went from being a good basketball prospect to a major-college recruit.

Where Buford (Ga.) High School senior A.J. Davis goes from here remains to be seen, but the recent Tennessee signee's ceiling appears pretty high based on his bloodlines and his frame. Twin sister Kaela, a Georgia Tech signee, is rated the No. 2 prospect in women's basketball. Their father, Antonio, played 13 seasons in the NBA (1993-2006).

Currently packing 200 pounds on a 6-foot-8 frame, A.J. Davis won't turn 18 until March 15, so he probably isn't finished growing just yet.

"My dad is 6-10," he told InsideTennessee by phone from the family home in Buford, Ga. "Hopefully, I'll be as tall as he is. I'm 6-8 or 6-9 right now, so I might grow one or two more inches. I'll probably gain a little bit of weight, too. By the time I get to school I'll probably be at 225."

Davis has perimeter skills, mostly because he played guard prior to his dramatic growth spurt three years ago. He says adjusting to the added length was no problem.

"Not really," he recalled. "I was taller and longer but it helped me more than anything. It helped me rebound and play defense. I was doing all the same stuff I did as a guard except I was taller. And I had bigger players on me, which was an advantage for me."

Davis averaged 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore. at Greater Atlanta Christian School in 2010-11. After transferring to Buford High, he missed the first 14 games of his junior year while awaiting clearance from the Georgia High Schools Association. Still, he averaged 12.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season, with a career-best 32-point performance in the region semifinals against South Atlanta.

Davis, who competed in the 2010 and 2011 National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camps at Charlottesville, Va., ultimately picked Tennessee over Georgia, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Auburn. Signing with the Vols in November was a big day.

"I'm really excited about it," he said. "It's a relief and a good feeling to get it over with, especially feeling like you went to the right school."

Antonio Davis definitely approves of his son's choice.

"He really loves Tennessee, so he's happy about it," the younger Davis said. "He loves the coaching staff. That's probably his favorite thing — Coach (Cuonzo) Martin, Coach (Jon) Harris, Coach (Tracy) Webster. He also likes the environment. He went on my visit with me, and he's been to some Lady Vol games (with Kaela)."

Asked what attracted him to Tennessee, A.J. replied: "Probably the same things my dad liked: The coaching staff is great. I can go talk to them about anything. I like the school in general, the students and the fans. I think it's the best environment in the country."

Davis described Cuonzo Martin as "a great role model, a great leader," adding: "He's a great person who can teach me a lot of things."

Davis already learned quite a bit about basketball from his dad.

"A lot," he conceded. "As I was growing up I played more guard but he helped me learn a lot of stuff about playing the post and defense."

After watching some tapes of his dad's NBA career, A.J. sees surprisingly little of Antonio's game in his own.

"Not really," he said. "We're totally different players, really. I love to learn from him but he was more of a power player — real strong and super athletic. I'm more crafty and I have a leaner frame."

Naturally, being the son of an NBA player has its pluses and minuses. The pluses are relatively obvious.

"The experience you get," A.J. Davis said. "And any questions you have, he can answer."

Asked about the negatives, Davis paused.

"I wouldn't say there's a negative," he said. "There are some expectations but it's not really a negative."


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