April 22, 2014 9:20:15 AM
WEST POINT -- Juan Davis Jr. has traveled the route to East Mississippi Community College many times.
As the designated drive sent from West Point to Scooba to pick up his sister, Wilma, a standout on the EMCC women's basketball team, Juan was able to map out all of the back roads to find the quickest way to EMCC.
The West Point High School standout will have another year or two to consult his map to see if he can shave a little time off his trip after he signed a scholarship Monday to play basketball for coach Mark White and the Lions.
"I was kind of stuck between junior college, Division I, and Division II," Davis said. "I thought and I prayed about it and I felt EMCC was the best place for me. It is a place for me to grow more as a player and as an individual. I believe when I leave EMCC I will be more ready to move on to the next level."
Earlier this month, West Point High's Tre Williams signed a scholarship to play basketball at East Central C.C. in Decatur. West Point coach Brad Cox hopes to have a few more of his seniors get a chance to play basketball at the next level. Davis and Williams were part of an eight-player senior class that helped West Point eclipse the 20-win plateau and advance to the semifinals of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State playoffs, where it lost to Callaway 84-70. Davis, a 6-foot-7 1/4 guard/forward averaged 11.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.1 blocked shots per game.
"His skill kind of had to catch up because he grew so fast," said Cox, who has coached Davis for the past four seasons. "It took a little bit for it all to get together. He had a really good second half of his junior season and a great senior year."
Beyond the statistics, Cox said Davis is a really good young man, too, thanks to solid family support. He believes the maturation Davis showed at West Point High is just the beginning. He feels Davis' versatility will be something White and the Lions love.
"He completed his game," Cox said. "He went from junior year, when he was mostly a 3-point shooter, to being able to attack the rim and take it coast to coast in transition. He really developed his game a lot between the offseason and the start of his senior season. He became a player that was able to beat you in a lot of ways.
"I think he is going to a great place. Coach White has had several Division I players the past few years. They are very excited about him because of what we just talked about. He is not just a scorer or a rebounder. He can do a lot of different things."
Davis has range well beyond the 3-point range and can use his long, athletic frame to get out in transition and finish with authority. He said he is looking forward to playing in a program that has advanced to the NJCAA National tournament four of the past five seasons. He also said Wilma, a sophomore who was scheduled to visit Delta State today, helped him learn about EMCC and made him confident going to Scooba was the right choice.
EMCC made the decision easier by sticking with Davis and attending his games once it made the choice it wanted him in the program.
"Coach White said I am a great fit to his program in that I can play inside or outside," Davis said. "(Wilma) had a lot to do with me going to EMCC. Going down there every weekend and bringing her back and forth to school, I got to see what the school was like. She said it was a good place. I got a good feel for he school after spending so much time there.
"I am ready to take the next step. I am ready for the season to start and ready to take on the challenge."
n Caledonia 13, Leake Central 4: The Lady Confederates pounded out 21 hits in an effort coach Robin Elmore called the team's best hitting performance of the season.
Morgan Smith, Cassie Obman, Sarah Beth Kinard, and Stephanie Wilkes had singles, Hope Harbin had two singles, Hope Burton (winning pitcher) had a single, a double, and a triple, Holli Carter had three singles, Alex Burns had three singles and a home run, and Gracie McCleskey had three singles and a double.
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Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.