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La Crosse Central's Johnny Davis discusses recruiting, timetable for making a collegiate decision and goals for senior season

06/02/2019, 6:00pm CDT
By Mark Miller

Johnny Davis

You won't find a player in the state of Wisconsin who competes with more of an edge on the basketball court than La Crosse Central's Johnny Davis.

Other players might have more talent. Or more size. Or more collegiate offers.

But nobody -- nobody -- plays any harder than Davis, a class of 2020, 6-foot-5 wing guard and three-year varsity performer who is currently ranked No. 2 among all players in his class in the Player Rankings

Coming off a very good junior season in which he attacked the basket and rim at will while averaging 23.1 points and 9.3 rebounds, Davis led La Crosse Central to a 24-3 record and its third straight appearance in the WIAA Division 2 State Tournament.

He then went out and performed exceptionally well in April and May for the Wisconsin Playground Club program. 

Playing on the prestigious Under Armour Association circuit, Davis helped his team to an 8-4 record by averaging 13.0 points and 4.2 rebounds while also shooting 57 percent from the floor. 

His strong play on the UAA circuit helped to attract interest from a number of NCAA Division I basketball programs. After already holding a scholarship offer from the University of Wisconsin and coach Greg Gard, Davis was able to add to his list of offers over the past few months.

New scholarship opportunities have come his way from De Paul, Iowa, Marquette, Minnesota and West Virginia. In addition, California, Illinois, Iowa State and Virginia, among others, have expressed recent strong interest. 

Davis said he plans to take unofficial visits to Marquette and West Virginia in June, and then play in three events with the Wisconsin Playground Club in July. He will then sort out all of his options in August. 

"I'll wait until after the summer to see which schools are recruiting me the hardest," Davis said. "At that point, I will set up my official visits for the fall."  

Davis, whose 6-foot-4 twin brother, Jordan, also is an outstanding basketball player, said he likely will not attend the same college as his brother since they are generally hearing from different collegiate programs. 

"Things could always change, but that this point, I don't see us going to college together," Johnny said. 

The collegiate program that shows the most recruiting interest, both as a player and individual, and also is a good fit for his up-tempo, aggressive style of play likely will win out in the end.

"I'm looking for a school where I can fit in and where the coaches are really interested in me, and not just as a basketball player, but also as a person," Davis said. "I would also like to go someplace where I can make an immediate impact."

Davis said he is working on improving his ball handling and three-point shooting in June while also competing for the La Crosse Central program in several summer tournaments.

Saturday at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Davis displayed his stellar athleticism, his ability to impact a game on both ends of the court, and his ability to soar above defenders while leading the Red Raiders to wins over Madison La Follette, Onalaska and Menomonie. 

Davis says his relentless nature on the court in battling for rebounds or attacking the basket or getting on the floor for a loose ball is a direct result of his aggressiveness on the football field.

An outstanding quarterback for the La Crosse Central football team, Davis can throw the ball a long way or use his quick feet and physical strength to overpower would-be tacklers. 

"My aggressive nature, or at least part of it, comes from football," Davis said. "I love to fight through defenders on the football field."

Davis said he and his brother learned the game of basketball from their father, Mark Davis, a former star at Old Dominion who later played for the La Crosse Catbirds in the Continental Basketball Association and with the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association.

"It's been great and he has been our No. 1 fan," Johnny Davis said of his father. "He's always been there for us. But he doesn't take it easy on us and he never has because he wants us to be the best players who possible can become."

After averaging 8.7 points as a freshman for a La Crosse Central squad that went 26-2 and won the Division 2 state title behind the strong play of seniors Kobe King and Bailey Kale, Davis increased his output to 22.8 ppg as a sophomore as the Red Raiders went 24-3 and lost a heart-breaker to Milwaukee Washington in the Division 2 state semifinals.

Davis again increased his scoring total as a junior (23.1 ppg) and again led La Crosse Central to a 24-3 mark. But, unfortunately, the Red Raiders once again lost to Milwaukee Washington in the Division 2 state semifinals at the Kohl Center. 

For his final go around in 2019-20, Davis wants the script to end like is did during his freshman campaign -- with a Gold Ball.

"My freshman year was awesome, but it was more of a championship for our seniors like Kobe and Bailey because they were the leaders of the squad," Davis said. "It's very, very important to me as a leader of our team now to get that Gold Ball my senior year."

Davis figures to have plenty of help in the La Crosse Central lineup as he joins his twin brother, senior wing guard Jordan Davis, along with rugged senior forward Terrance Thompson as returning regulars.

Jordan Davis, who has NCAA Division I scholarship offers from Green Bay and Milwaukee, averaged 12.6 ppg and 4.5 rpg as a junior. He is a good perimeter shooter who can defend and take the ball to the basket.

Jordan Davis is receiving interest from Minnesota, West Virginia and Wisconsin, and said in a recent media report Gard offered him a roster spot as a walkon as a freshman in 2020 followed by a full scholarship for the next three seasons. He also has lots of options in football with an offer from Central Michigan and strong interest from Iowa State, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin, among others.  

Terrance Thompson, a physical and versatile 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 7.8 ppg and 6.2 rpg and owns scholarship offers from Bradley, De Paul, Grambling, Green Bay, Illinois-Chicago, Milwaukee, Missouri State and Toledo.

Seniors Charlie Masewicz (6-6) and Breken Austin (6-3) along with promising young players like sophomores Devon Fielding (5-11) and Porter Pretasky (6-1) also figure to play prominent roles for the Red Raiders. 

Masewicz has grown an inch or two over the past 12 months and has the ability to score from the perimeter or in the paint with his back to the basket. 

Austin is a slasher who can get to the hoop or make mid-range jump shots while both Fielding and Pretasky saw some varsity action last winter as freshman. 

For the latest and most up to date boys' basketball news and recruiting information, follow Mark on Twitter @wisbbyearbook. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Mark by clicking here.

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