By: Mark Maloney
SEC Digital Network
LONDON — Mobbed by adoring fans at the Summer Olympic Games.
Fielding questions from media around the world.
No problem, Anthony Davis says.
Life as a Wildcat prepared him well.
"I had that last year at Kentucky," Davis said Friday, a few hours before opening ceremonies of the London Olympics. "Yeah, same way. Not internationally, but it was the same way. I’m used to it."
Friday, Davis fielded one-on-one questions from Americans, of course. But Aussies, Mongolians, Japanese, Germans -- spin the globe and name a country -- all wanted a piece of the 6-foot-10 teenager with the unibrow.
He handled each question with veteran poise and courtesy.
"Make sure that you always treat people right," he said. "Because you want to be a global icon eventually, so you’ve got to approach it like you’re going be a global icon."
Davis, after playing one season at Kentucky, is in the midst of a dream season.
The consensus National Player of the Year, an NCAA champion and the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.
At 19, he’s the lone Team USA member without NBA experience, going toe-to-toe in practice with the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
"It’s like one of these teams that you create on a video game and put them altogether, and now it’s like a reality," Davis said.
Now, Olympic gold is within reach.
What else could a guy ask for?
"Get some sleep," Davis deadpanned.
An Olympic gold would be "not as big as the NBA finals, but it’d be great to win two titles in one year," the shot-blocker extraordinare said. "It’s a great opportunity for me. I just want to have fun and learn from these guys. But it’d definitely be great."
Davis says that Bryant, James and the rest of his NBA teammates have taken him under their wings.
He says he tries to take in their advice, learn from them in practice and develop as a player.
As the last player named to the team -- a substitute for injured Blake Griffin -- Davis says he’s not sure what his role will be. He plans to keep things simple by playing hard, doing what he can to help Team USA win and not worry about making spectacular plays.
The team teenager is getting a mild rookie welcome via menial tasks.
"It’s nothing horrific," he said. "It’s just simple stuff. ‘Rook, I need a Gatorade. Rook, I need a towel.’"
Even is his role is limited, he thinks he will benefit from Olympic experience.
"Just sitting there watching the game, watching the best players play, compete at a high level," he said. "In practice, they tell you what to do, tell you where to be. So I’m definitely learning a lot."
Such as, the biggest difference between college ball and Olympic ball is the physical play.
"It’s different because it’s a different way you can hold your position on the defensive end. You can use hands," he said. "In college, you really couldn’t. You just had to body up. ... They don’t let you catch the ball. College, they let you catch it and then try to play defense. Here, they three-quarter court you, full-front you and now you have to work for position. It’s a lot more difficult."
His veteran teammates also have some advice about what to expect when the NBA season opens.
"They say ‘you’re not going to get no calls. The first couple years, you’re not going to get no calls.’" Davis said. "Even in practice I’ll get no calls. There’ll be blatant fouls. No calls. It’s just fun. You just have fun with these guys. ... I’m loving it."