- Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2011

CLEVELAND (AP) - Baron Davis wore a Cleveland Indians jersey and cap Thursday night, and he’s already excited about the future of his basketball team.

Davis took part in a first-pitch ceremony prior to the Indians’ game against the Texas Rangers.

The Cavaliers guard hosted a group of youngsters from a Cleveland public schools program in a suite for the evening.

The Cavaliers, who lost 63 games in their first season without LeBron James, own the first and fourth picks in the first round of the NBA Draft.

The Cavaliers are expected to take Duke point guard Kyrie Irving with the first pick. Even though that’s the position Davis plays, the 11-year veteran says he has no problem with the team adding Irving.

“I’m great with that,” he said. “From what I’ve been through in my career, playing against all the top guards, it will be great for me to mentor a young point guard. It will be a great addition if we do get another point guard.”

Davis has seen Irving play a few times on television.

“He’s quick and explosive,” Davis said. “He’s a good all-around basketball player.”

The Cavaliers acquired Davis from the Los Angeles Clippers in February. Cleveland also picked up the Clippers’ first-round draft pick, which became the top choice in the draft.

Davis averaged 13.9 points in 15 games with the Cavaliers, but was slowed by knee and back injuries.

“I’m feeling good,” he said. “I’ve been getting myself in shape to build a foundation for this summer. I’m back to playing pickup. I can actually run and jump and do the things I wasn’t able to do when I was here.”

The league’s labor situation has put a cloud over the 2011-12 season. The owners and players are trying to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires June 30.

“Hopefully, it won’t happen,” Davis said of a potential lockout. “There’s a lot at stake for both sides. Everybody tries to pit one (side) against the other, when it’s a collective effort. It’s ultimately for the fans. A lot of times you have to set your ego aside and look at the bigger picture.”

Growing up in Los Angeles, Davis made a brief attempt at playing baseball, but that ended quickly.

“They put me in center field and I was catching everything,” he said. “Then they put me at shortstop. I took a short hop, it popped me in the lip and that was it.”

Davis said he is planning on returning to UCLA, where he played his college ball, to complete classes in pursuit of his diploma. Davis said he is majoring in history with a minor in television studies. He is acting on a promise he made to his grandmother, who passed away during the season, to finish his education.

“She always wanted me to get my degree,” he said. “I wanted to dedicate my summer to start making my strides.”

Davis said he’s about two years from completing his class work.

“I’m not far, but I’m definitely not close,” he said with a laugh.

Davis hopes this attempt will serve as an example to youngsters.

“We all need to be more educated,” he said. “We’re living in a world where ignorance is prime. People have short-term memories. It’s affecting our kids. They are a lot smarter than we were at their age. We have to continue to encourage them to pursue their dreams through education. These kids are our future.”

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