Davion Berry is a 26-year old guard out of Weber State who has played in overseas leagues and the G-League since going undrafted in 2014. But don’t think this discourages Berry from believing he is an NBA-ready player.
Berry made an impact with the Raptors 905 when the franchise acquired him at the trade deadline in 2016. He immediately became one of the team’s go-to players, finishing his short 10-game stint averaging 33.6 minutes, 17.9 points, 3.7 assists and 2.6 rebounds while shooting 55.7 percent from the field and 51.4 percent from three.
That stellar performance was enough for Berry to earn a contract with the Kolossos Rodou B.C., a Greek professional team in the top league in Greece. However, he didn’t last long there, and quickly found a new home with the Tigers Tubingen in Germany’s top league.
Berry played well enough to stay, but wanted to give the NBA another shot. Fortunately for all parties involved, it was the Raptors who gave him that chance, signing Berry to an Exhibit 10 contract with the expectation he would re-join the 905.
“I mean just the culture,” Berry remembers, when asked about his previous time with the Raptors. “And this is one of the best organizations I have ever been apart of and going through different teams and seeing things, this is a great organization from top to bottom.”
Even though Berry is still playing in the G-League he truly believes he is going to be an NBA player one day. “I’ve been bouncing around overseas and I decided I wanted to stay close to my family,” said Berry. “For everybody to see me play, and some people haven’t seen me play in a year. I’m an NBA player ... Some people might not believe that, but I strongly believe that and I just gotta go out there and prove it to everyone.”
If Berry exhibits the same talent as his previous time in Toronto, it’ll be a huge plus for a team currently in the process of a rebuild with many rookies involved. Of course, Berry believes his year away from the G-League will make him that much better. “I mean when you go overseas you face a lot of challenges and a lot of practice and it is a grind over there,” said Berry.
“You go for 10 months without your family and friends, so I feel like this is easy and I mean I’m basically in the States. I know this isn’t the States but it is so close, and it is a warm welcome being in Toronto. I feel like I am a better player from last time I was here, and hopefully I have an opportunity to show what I can do on the court.”
Berry projects to be one of the better, or at least most significant, members of this year’s 905 squad. His NBA aspirations are clear though, and he hopes to learn from his coach, Jerry Stackhouse. “I never met a coach like him,” said Berry. “He is for sure something special and I am eager to get to learn from him on a day-to-day basis.”
This is a year in flux for the 905 and while Berry’s presence is significant, it will be interesting to see how he fits in with this new squad. They’re the defending champions, but many of the anchors of that team are elsewhere now. On top of that, the Raptors assignees (players like Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, who helped the 905 win the title) are in the parent club’s rotation now and unlikely to see much, if any, time in the G-League.
As a result, Berry will have to navigate those team challenges, while also chasing his NBA dream. Whatever happens, it’s clear he appears ready to put in the work. And yes, Berry believes he will make it.