Davis has given the Trojans steady leadership on the floor as his play and growing knowledge of the game has enabled him to score an average of 17.1 points with 10.9 rebounds a game.
Off the court, the 6-foot-5 star has excelled in the classroom by being an honor student, scoring a 20 on the ACT. He has already signed a scholarship to play basketball at Delta State University next year.
Davis started to emerge as the leader of the Trojans in the second half of his junior year last season. Over his last 10 games of the 2012-13 year, he scored double figures in points nine times and averaged 15.2 points and 10.6 rebounds a contest during that stretch. His impressive surge helped enable East Side to win the Region 4-3A crown and advance to the 3A North Half Playoffs, finishing with a 22-10 record. Davis finished with an overall average of 10.5 points and 9.3 rebounds a game.
This year, Davis has been even better. He has led East Side to an 11-3 record thus far and has recorded double figurers in a game 13 times with 10 double-doubles.
His effort to improve his game hasn’t been just all about him.
“Mostly, I’ve been trying to improve my game to help my team,” Davis said. “Coach will pull me to the side, maybe in practice, and he’ll tell me something I’m doing wrong. I’ll just keep working on that. I also look toward the future when I’ll be in college and just try to get to a high level where I’ll constantly help my team.”
Trojans head coach Leroy Cotton said Davis leads by example.
“Personality wise, he’s a great, great young man,” Cotton said. “He’s very good in school and very respectable on the floor. He’s just taking coaching and the additional hard work he’s put in, he continues to get better and better.”
Cotton, who is also Davis’ uncle, said Davis knows how to execute what he wants.
“He’s been around me forever and knows what I expect,” Cotton said. “He’s so smart on the floor. He kind of helps leads us, even though he’s not a point guard. He kind of directs us on the floor, because his knowledge of the game has grown so much.”
Davis’ production doesn’t just come from the offensive end. When he hasn’t had good games on offense, his defense has been huge. In East Side’s 64-58 win over Shaw in the Bolivar County Tournament last month, he went just 3-of-12 from the floor with 12 points but he pulled down 13 rebounds and blocked three shots to help his team win. He is also averaging 5.3 blocked shots per game.
“I know my team needs me to produce, not only on offense, but also on defense,” Davis said. “I continue strive to continue to contribute to my team. Even if I’m not able to produce offensively, I can do my part on defense.”
Most any athletes is influenced by the best in the professional ranks. For Davis, those players are New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and L.A. Clippers guard Chris Paul.
“I love Chris Paul’s leadership,” Davis said. “He’s capable of taking over games, but also he’s a team player. He’s going to dish it. Off the court, he’s a great leader and a great humanitarian.
“Carmelo, his offensive game is just really incredible,” Davis continued. “I try to use some of the moves I see from him. I haven’t gotten them quite down yet. Those players have influenced me the most.”
Davis said many former players that have suited up for East Side over the years have been great at giving him tips and ways to perfect his game.
“Just about everyone who has come throw playing basketball has helped me even from this point now to before,” Davis said. “They would tell to keep working and nothing is going to be given to me. Even when Johnny (O’Bryant) comes home, he’s also giving me pointers. He’ll come to a game. Watching him on TV just makes me think it is possible to do something great coming from East Side.”
The biggest thing an athlete has to do to be able to play is to keep his grades up. Making the grade proves to be challenging as basketball is played two or three times a week with the team traveling on the road half of the time. Davis has been able to overcome the obstacles that come with being a student-athlete and has maintained his grades in the classroom.
Davis wasn’t shy when talking about why he’s been able to stay afloat in the classroom.
“Prayer and sometimes I take a couple of notes on the bus that I can look over on the road, but mostly it’s just prayer and I thank God for letting me be able to keep my grades up,” Davis said. “Sometimes in games I get back late, I’ll try to catch a quick study session before I get knocked out.”
The Trojans have played well as they’ve been in every game. The Trojans have lost three games by a combined nine points. East Side has won some tough contests by winning six of their games by eight points or less.
Davis said the Trojans have displayed two aspects that have helped them succeed.
“Our defense and our heart,” Davis said. “We may not be one of the most talented teams around, but we play defense and we hustle. That’s what makes us a team. We have players that know their roles. We just have to do what we can do to fulfill the big goal and that’s win the (state) championship.”
The atmosphere on the team and the way the team has played are elements that the 17-year-old has really enjoyed this season.
“To see how we’re playing and how we’re continuing to grow as a team and as a family, it’s something great to see,” Davis said.
As far as playing college ball, Davis said he is relieved that he was able to go on and sign somewhere.
“In my junior year, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t get any offers,” Davis said. “Itawamba was looking at me and Mississippi Delta. I was like I know I’m capable of doing better, but I just didn’t’ see it. When Delta State offered me, I was like this is a ram in the bush. I committed, and also it’s a great basketball program. I’m really looking forward to playing there. ”