Former Big Sky MVP and Weber State University men’s basketball standout Davion Berry has had a busy year.
After a short stint playing for PMS Torino in Italy, Berry was given the chance to come back to America in March and chase his NBA dream with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA’s Developmental League.
After a stellar senior season in which he led the Wildcats to a Big Sky Conference title and a trip to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, Berry went to several of the NBA’s pre-draft camps and college all-star games where he performed very well, which helped him earn a spot on the Portland Trail Blazers NBA summer league team.
After playing for the Trail Blazers in the summer league, Berry quickly learned how different the NBA is compared to playing college basketball.
“I’m a team guy, and that’s what they preached at Weber State,” Berry said. “When you get to the pro level you realize it’s a business; it’s definitely a change.”
Part of that change for Berry came last October, when after failing to make an NBA roster he was given the chance to head to Italy and suit up for PMS Torino.
However, his time playing in Italy turned out to be short-lived, and after a somewhat frustrating 17-game stretch, Berry realized that a change was necessary.
“I’m not going to lie, it was frustrating, man,” Berry said. “It wasn’t letting me do what I knew I was capable of doing.”
Berry’s capabilities on the basketball court have never been in doubt from the first time stepped on campus at Weber State. Even during his redshirt year, it was evident to his teammates that he had a bright future ahead of him.
James Hajek, a teammate of Berry’s for his entire tenure at Weber State was one of the first to take note of his potential on the basketball court.
“He’d be going against us while he was on the scout team and there would be times when we wouldn’t be able to stop him,” Hajek said. “With Dev, we knew that after his redshirt year was over that he was going to be a really good player.”
Hajek’s prediction proved to be true, as Berry would end up as the 15th highest scorer in school history, after only playing two years for the Wildcats.
Despite his many accomplishments in basketball, Berry’s most impressive developments came off the court at Weber State, where he was given the chance to grow into a well-respected leader for the Wildcats.
Richaud Gittens was a freshman during Berry’s senior season and was able to observe his growth as a leader first hand.
“It took him a little time to get there, but once he got there he became an MVP type player and just a better overall player and person,” Gittens said. “In my opinion you can be a vocal leader or a physical leader, but he had a little bit of both, and that’s what made him stand out.”
The type of personal growth Berry experienced is not uncommon for members of the men’s basketball team. One of the first things most players mention about their experience on the team is the emphasis placed on developing high character and learning how to grow off the court.
“You have to have character, that’s one of the biggest things that Coach Rahe teaches,” Berry said. “They not only teach you how to play basketball, but they teach you about life, and how to be a great person on and off the floor.”
Neither Hajek or Gittens are surprised by the success Berry is having on the court, and they fully expect him to take advantage of the opportunities he has been given in the D-League and to make a successful jump to the NBA.
“He feels that he’s an NBA player,” Hajek said. “And we all feel the same way here.”
For now, Berry will continue to look forward to this summer, as he continues to work on his game and leadership skills on the court, in hopes that an NBA team will take notice.
More importantly though, Berry is confident that the lessons he learned while playing for the Wildcats have given him all the tools he needs be a more successful leader off the court.
“I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for me coming to Weber State,” he said. “It’s really helped me to grow up and become a better person.”