Kaela Davis has basketball in her blood.
Her father is former NBA player Antonio Davis. Her twin brother AJ Davis plays basketball for Central Florida. Her godbrother is former NBA player Al Harrington and godfather, former NBA player and coach Byron Scott.
With so many talented and successful men coaching her through life and the game, Davis has all the basketball wisdom she could need to succeed, but it seems Davis’ most influential role model is her godsister WNBA star Candace Parker.
Davis looked up to Parker, a current Los Angeles Sparks and former Lady Vol at Tennessee, since she was young and living in Naperville, Ill.
“We've known each other for a long, long time now and just seeing her in high school and being with her during her college career and her professional career, she's definitely someone that I've been able to see how it all forms and evolves and all the work that goes into it to make it a reality,” Davis said.
Attending the WNBA Draft on Thursday night in New York City, Davis is most looking forward to having her name called, finding out her new team and then seeing if her team plays Parkers’ Sparks next season.
Considering Davis’ confidantes and family who taught her “how to win the right way”, the junior at South Carolina becoming a National Champion on April 2 shouldn’t surprise anyone— but it does surprise Davis who never thought she would win a National Championship.
"It’s one of those things that I would say you can talk about it,” Davis said. “It's something that you dream of and something that you want to do, but until you've really done it, it's crazy honestly. I can't really put it all into words but it's been an amazing year for sure."
Davis had 10 points, six rebounds and one assist in the Gamecocks’ 67-55 National Championship win over Mississippi State.
However, before her days as a Championship-winning Gamecock, Davis was a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket for two seasons.
At Georgia Tech, Davis earned All-ACC honors for her freshman and sophomore seasons and set a record reaching 1,000 career points in 52 games, faster than anyone else in program history. As a sophomore, Davis also set the school record for 652 points and led the ACC in scoring in conference games with 19.2 points per game.
When Davis transferred to South Carolina, moving wasn’t new. Because of her father’s 13-year NBA career, the Davis family moved all over.
In fact, when Davis is asked where she’s from, she laughs because it’s complicated.
"We were wherever my dad was,” Davis said. “I was born in Indiana, so it's probably there for about four years and then he got traded to Toronto, so we were there for about another four (years), but I definitely kind of grew up in Illinois and playing basketball there so that's kind of where I call home. A lot of my mom's family is there, my grandparents are there. So I guess you could say that's where I grew up and that's where I kind of started playing basketball."
While Davis bounced all over during her childhood due to her dad’s career on the court, her high school career was relatively steady, playing for Norcross High School during her freshman season and then Buford High School in Suwanee for her sophomore through senior seasons.
Duke’s junior guard Lexie Brown played with Davis at Buford High School and knows Davis on and off the court.
“I've known Kaela since we were little maybe since we were seven or eight years old,” Brown said. “She just brings a lot of energy on and off the floor. She's like the sweetest person ever. You probably won't even tell that if you look at her playing on the floor, it's like night and day. She has such a big heart and she care so much about everybody around her."
Brown decided stay her senior season at Duke and finish her degree. Also from Suwanne, Ga., Brown is planning on going through the 2018 WNBA Draft.
Like her father moved to follow his passion on the court, Davis might herself be moving to a different city to pursue her WNBA dreams, but she won’t forget her roots in Suwanee and from Buford High School.
"Coming from Buford, it's contagious and you want to be around that more," Davis said. “I have a ton of people from Buford that were there for me and congratulated me, and that something that once again you kind of get the family aspect. Buford's kind of a close knit, one big happy family and once you experience that, you want to stay consistent with that as much as possible.”