By Jamie Thomas
At 23 years old, Stanley Davis Jr. is eager to enjoy every second of what he hopes will be a long basketball career ahead of him, and in the all-action 6ft 5 combo-guard the BBL is certainly welcoming an exciting talent to the league as the Pennsylvania native joins the Surrey Scorchers.
Although his career is still young, Davis Jr. has had his eye on a move to the BBL for some time, as he discussed the interest that two other teams in the league had showed in him previously, and how those teams opting not to recruit him made him eager to come to the UK to showcase his talents.
“Whilst I was in Albania, I always wrote down and kept lists of the teams that were interested in signing me whenever I would speak to my agent, and there were two teams in the BBL who were interested – not including Surrey at the time – but when the time came to bring me in, those teams went other ways, so I always wanted to go to the BBL to play for that reason.
“When I was at home over the summer then, I got a call saying that Surrey were interested and my heart just started racing, so I felt like I was always destined to come here to be honest and I’m so glad the opportunity came up and I’m excited to get to work and show what I can do.
“I know Kahron Ross played in Albania and also played here in the BBL too and had great success, and I was actually really looking forward to playing against him but he’s got a really exciting opportunity elsewhere so unfortunately that won’t happen.”
“I’m definitely a 10 on how ready I am to come to Surrey.”
The Morgan State University graduate averaged over 18 points, three assists and almost four rebounds a game in the Albanian Superliga last year, as the 6ft 5 guard caused no end of problems for opposition teams with his length and skillset on both ends of the floor.
No doubt Scorchers fans will have done their research to catch a glimpse of some highlights of their newest floor general, but the 23-year-old promised that many more highlights are to come.
“If I could rate it from one to 10 I’d say I’m definitely a 10 on how ready I am to come to Surrey. I’m beyond ready, I’m beyond prepared, I’ve always been confident in myself and I know I’ve put the work in to get ready for this opportunity so that work is going to speak for itself and I’m looking forward to bringing that work to Surrey for sure.
“I’ve always been considered quite big for a guard, it was the same last year in Albania, so there are going to be some mismatches and no doubt there’ll be some people who are excited to come against me for that reason, but I’m excited to go up against them as well.
“I bring a lot of passion to the court, I’m passionate about myself and my game because I came from nothing to get here. You’re going to see a lot of highlights offensively and defensively, I’m an all-round combo point guard and I’m looking to show everything I can do in Surrey.”
“I’m a big defensive player so I feel like I can help a lot there.”
On the defensive end is where the Scorchers have had their fair share of troubles at times over the last couple of years, so as much as Davis Jr.’s attacking prowess is sure to excite them, his passion for delivering results on the other end of the court may be of greater interest.
In his early conversations with Coach Creon Raftopoulos, that emphasis on defence was made clear to the new Scorchers leader, who admits he’s watched plenty of footage of his new team as he looks to play his best basketball from the outset at Surrey Sports Park.
“Coach Creon is a stand-up guy for sure – from the very first phone call we had he made an instant impression on me, I would say. He told me right away that he wasn’t a pushover, he was very straightforward, and that he wanted me to be the leader on both ends of the floor.
“In our conversations he very much emphasised the defence and I’m a big defensive player so I feel like I can help a lot there. I can do everything on the offensive end at my position, but I love defence and take as much pride in that side of the game as I do anything else, and I’ll do whatever Coach needs to help make this team successful.
“I’ve watched a lot of film of the team, I’ve spoken to the guys who were here last season, and I want to hit the ground running and be in rhythm from the get-go to be as successful as possible for this team, and take us towards championships.”
“We’ve got to be winners in everything we do.”
If the 23-year-old’s confidence is as infectious to his new teammates as it is in our conversation with him, then the Scorchers are in for a much-improved and exciting season. Davis Jr. discusses where that confidence comes from, how important it is for the team to share that confidence, and what Surrey can achieve this year.
“The team I’m really looking forward to playing against is the London Lions. They’re one of the top teams, they’re local rivals and I want to compete against the best and beat them with this team, so I’m super excited to play against them for sure, and to show what we can do at Surrey this year.
“I’m really looking forward to building that chemistry with the group, that trust in each other, and to make sure we’re as strong mentally as we are physically to be able to compete at the highest level. I’ve been doubted my whole life, I was never the best at what I did, but I have confidence in my work and my abilities and as a team we need to be the same.
“Doubt and negativity does a lot for me and if anybody’s doubting us then I hope it helps us too. Everybody at Surrey wants this team to be successful and to win. Who likes to lose? We’ve got to be winners in everything we do and if we can have some medals in our hands at the end of it and bring some success to Surrey then that’d be amazing.”