St. Catharines’ Niagara River Lions add ‘versatile’ son of a former Toronto Raptor


Published April 26, 2022 at 5:42 pm

Antonio Lee (A.J.) Davis, whose father and namesake once graced the Toronto Raptors, has become the third American player to sign with the Niagara River Lions for their upcoming season.

Davis, a six-foot-nine forward from Burford, Ga., has had a basketball journey in that has covered every role on the court and several countries. The 27-year-old will join St. Catharines-based team for the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) season after averaging 15 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game this winter with the Nurnberg Falcons of the German Pro A League.

“Firstly, I’d like to say thank you to this club,” Davis said in a media release. “I’m always appreciative of another opportunity to play the game I love. I’m looking forward to getting started with the team and most importantly winning games.”

Davis’s father, Antonio Davis, was a 13-year NBA veteran who played primarily with the Indiana Pacers in the 1990s and also spent a third of his playing career with the Raptors. He was a centre on Toronto’s first playoff teams during the Vince Carter era in the early 2000s. He was also president of the NBA Players Association and now an analyst for ESPN.
A.J. Davis is also the twin brother of Kaela Davis of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.

After a season at the University of Tennessee, A.J. Davis found his place collegiately at the University of Central Florida, where he averaged 10.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists across three seasons. As a pro, he has had NBA G League stints with the Delaware Blue Coats and Stockton Kings. In addition to his recent stint in Germany, he has also hit the court with KB Prishtina (Kosovo Basketball Superleague), Brisbane Bullets (NBL Australia), BC Luleå (Sweden’s Basketligan) and Charilaos Trikoupis Mesologiou (Greece A2 league).

“A.J. is easily one of the most versatile players in this league,” said Antwi Atuahene, head of basketball operations and co-general manager of the River Lions. “He has an extremely high basketball IQ and takes pride in leading by example. He can play all five positions on the floor offensively and defensively. We are excited to have A.J. in a River Lions uniform.”

Davis becomes the third American signed for the upcoming season after six-foot-four guard Khalil Ahmad and six-foot-11 forward EJ Onu. That contingent will join River Lions returnees Daniel Waldin-Mullings, Jake Babic, Jaylen Babb-Harrison, Olu Ashaolu, and Phil Scrubb, along with Tidjan Keita and Alonzo Walker.

Last season, the River Lions were CEBL runners-up, falling to the Edmonton Stingers in the league final.

The league has expanded to 10 teams, and has planned a 20-game regular season that runs from late May until early August. The River Lions’ home opener at the Meridian Centre is on June 3 against the expansion Montreal Alliance.

(Cover photo courtesy of Canadian Elite Basketball League.)

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