Tony Davis figures he came into an ideal situation more than three years ago as an Evans High sophomore.
The Knights center befriended senior standouts Jonathan Nicely and Trey Henderson. Davis went from being a probable junior varsity player to playing a significant role his first season at Evans.
The Columbia County News-Times Boys Basketball Player of the Year reminisced in March about his start at Evans. His final high school season came to an end in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs. And Davis said he wished there was another year.
"Evans was a great place for me," he said. "It was a great fit coming in as a sophomore being able to play with Jonathan Nicely, Trey Henderson -- big guys like that."
Davis averaged 16 points per game and more than eight rebounds. Beyond the numbers, there was nothing flashy about his game but his motor, Knights coach Kevin Kenny said.
The most common compliment Kenny heard from opposing coaches and players was how hard Davis played throughout the game. The 6-foot-4 Davis crashed boards, chased down loose balls and worked for second-chance points.
"He doesn't have a signature move," Kenny said. "He's just a solid player who works hard and gets the job done and does what he needs to do to win."
Davis had to take on a different role as a senior. His friend, 6-foot-10 Jaleel Roberts, left before the season to enroll in a North Carolina prep school. Davis moved to center from his forward spot and was forced to become more aggressive on the boards.
"Everything worked out how he expected it to work out," Davis said, with a nod to Kenny. "Even though we lost Jaleel."
Davis and fellow senior Troy Griffith also had to guide the younger Knights. The pair were the only returning players with significant varsity experience. When game situations became tense or the Knights needed a bucket, the younger guys knew where to go with the ball.
The Knights won their opening round playoff game, an overtime victory at Wayne County. Davis scored 16 during the win. Evans fell at Bainbridge the next round, but Davis went out with a 23-point performance.
"He did well," Kenny said. "He did what we expected him to do. We came up short against Bainbridge."
The next step for Davis will be to make a decision on college.
He said he has heard from several Division II schools, but expects to enroll at a junior college and move on after a season.
"He's got a wide range of opportunities," Kenny said. "It's just going to be a matter of what's going to be the best fit for Tony Davis."
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