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After two seasons of hard work and dedication culminated in a Big Sky Conference Title and MVP award, former Weber State basketball player Davion Berry is now working on making his way into the NBA.
After the Wildcats lost to Arizona in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, Berry started working on putting his name out there and getting recognition, with the hopes of hearing his name called at the 2014 NBA Draft, taking place on June 26. Berry was one of 20 seniors across the country to play in the Reese’s College All-Star Game, leading the West team with a team high 15 points and four assists.
“I think his best attribute is his court awareness, his basketball intelligence and he sees the game so well,” said Wildcats head coach Randy Rahe. “He’s got a great feel for how to play, and that allows him to be a good scorer. He’s got a very well rounded game with not a lot of weaknesses.”
Just a few weeks after the game, Berry flew out to Virginia to participate in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, where he and 63 other seniors participated in a 12 game tournament in front of representatives from every NBA team, as well as from international basketball leagues. Over the course of three games in the tournament, Berry averaged 14 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists while shooting 51 percent from the field.
Berry’s performances at the Reese’s All-Star Game and the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament put an exclamation point on what was an incredible season for him. Berry led the Wildcats in just about every offensive category possible, including scoring (596 points), points per game (19.2), free throw percentage (.82), and assists (122). Rahe said that he felt a large part of Berry’s success in his senior year came as a result of his great attitude and stepping into a leadership role with the team.
“I’ve been really proud of the growth he’s had in our program from a maturity standpoint,” Rahe said. “When you focus on the team and your teammates, you take the pressure off yourself and you play better. You become more invested, and that’s really what he did for us this year. I think that’s what really allowed him to have such a phenomenal season.”
As the NBA Draft approaches, Berry is getting more looks from teams as they invite him to pre-Draft workouts. Last week, he had workouts with the Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Utah Jazz.
“It’s been a grind. I got to try and make a name for myself, go out and make opportunities for myself,” Berry said. “Every workout I do, the more it comes to me, the more I get comfortable, and I get better and better.”
After his workout with the Jazz on Friday, Berry said at a press conference that while he felt that his workouts with the Bulls and the Lakers went well, he thought he did better at the workout with the Jazz. Before his workout with the Jazz, Berry said that being seen succeeding at the workouts is what gives him confidence he has a shot at being drafted.
“I feel like I have a good chance,” Berry said. “I really do feel like the more and more people see me, the more and more they like me.”
As Berry works on becoming the second Wildcat in the last two years to be drafted, Rahe said that although he is extremely proud of all of his players, whether they continue to play basketball or they pursue a career off the court, it is fun for him to see his former players succeed at the next level.
“It’s really fun to see these kids get better and better and better, and have success here, and then have a chance to carry it on to the next level and see how they perform,” Rahe said. “And obviously we have had some kids perform really well in the professional ranks. It says a lot about those kids, and the character they have and the hard work they’ve put in and the dedication they have had to be able to play at that level.”
Berry will continue to work on his journey to the NBA this month leading up to the draft, but if he doesn’t hear his name on Draft Day, he feels confident he will be able to sign with a team during Summer League, where he can continue to show his abilities. Whether it’s with the NBA, or if he follows in the footsteps of former Wildcats Scott Bamforth and Frank Otis and plays overseas, Berry knows that above all he wants to play.
“I mean, basketball is what I know,” Berry said. “I need basketball.”