Celtics’ Ime Udoka Excited To Coach ‘Tremendous Athlete’ JD Davison

'He's a tremendous athlete'

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Just one week after their NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, the Boston Celtics started their 2022 roster reconstruction Thursday by drafting guard JD Davison out of Alabama.

While the No. 53 pick won’t be looked at to immediately fix Boston’s bench scoring issues, he has brought excitement to Ime Udoka, the Celtics’ typically reserved head coach.

“Excited about the young guy. He’s a tremendous athlete,” Udoka said, as transcribed by Keith Smith. “Obviously with the hair and flying around, he stood out. But he stood out as a player too when I saw Alabama. We’ll implement JD into everything we do and looking forward to seeing him in Vegas.”

Of the things that stood out when watching Davison, athleticism certainly ranks a top the list, as he earned SEC All-Freshman honors as an energetic bench defender for the Crimson Tide.

Davison’s raw numbers — 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and a steal in 2021-22 — don’t jump off the screen, but that didn’t matter for Boston when scouting the man who they’d ultimately pick.

“And as you know, I’ve come from an organization where numbers didn’t really matter,” Udoka said. “We got (Manu) Ginobili and (Tony) Parker, and some guys really late in the draft and had late first round, late second round and always try to find the diamonds in the rough as far as that.”

Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens had similar things to say about Davis following the draft.

“All you have to do is turn on a couple of minutes of clips and you can see the upside,” Stevens said. “He?s a guy that we?ve seen all year long. Very young. Very explosive. That?s pretty obvious.”

Udoka confirmed Davison’s first exposure to professional basketball will come in the NBA’s Summer league out in Las Vegas. Boston’s schedule is set to begin on July 9 against the Miami Heat.

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