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La Crosse Central's Johnny Davis chosen as 2020 Mr. Basketball by WBCA

03/17/2020, 9:45am CDT
By Mark Miller

Johnny Davis

Selecting the 2020 Mr. Basketball award winner definitely was not an easy task for members of the voting committee assembled by the sponsor of the honor, the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association.

So many good players in the 2020 graduating class turned in outstanding seasons for stellar teams, making the decision difficult. 

Johnny Davis at La Crosse Central.

Carter Gilmore at Arrowhead.

Jacob Ognacevic at Sheboygan Lutheran.

Dalton Banks at Eau Claire North

AJ Vukovich at East Troy.

Max Klesmit at Neenah.

The list goes on and on.

In the end, though, one player stood above the rest.

Johnny Davis, the extremely athletic and ultra-aggressive 6-foot-5 wing prospect headed to the University of Wisconsin in the fall on a basketball scholarship, wound up distancing himself from others thanks to his consistently stellar play for coach Todd Fergot and the Red Raiders.

Davis was chosen in an almost unanimous vote as this year's Mr. Basketball by the WBCA, sponsored by the JustAGame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells.

Davis averaged 27.2 points for La Crosse Central, which finished the season with a 20-5 record. He netted 16 points in a 55-40 win over Onalaska last Thursday in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal contest and was hoping to lead the Red Raiders to their fourth straight state-tournament appearance before the COVID-19 virus forced cancellation of the event.

"I just think Johnny became a more complete player overall this season," Fergot said. "He can consistently get to the rim and his production has been outstanding. He rose to the challenge of playing a great schedule as seven teams we played this season were ranked No. 1 at one time or another in their respective states."

Davis performed especially well at the Montverde Academy Tournament in Florida in January. 

In a 73-72 win over South Miami in the opening game of the event, Davis finished with 32 points against a team that was ranked No. 1 in its respective division in Florida.

The next day, he poured in 37 points in a 66-61 loss to a Long Island Lutheran team that featured no less than seven players who figure to go to play at the NCAA Division I level.

Davis was one of five players named to the All-Tournament team at the event and three of the other selections on that squad wound up earning spots in the prestigious McDonald's All-American game.

"When we played Long Island Lutheran, I thought Johnny was the best player on the floor and that is saying something because that team was loaded with talent," Fergot said. "His perimeter shooting improved this season as he shot 44 percent from three-point range. His assist-to-turnover ratio improved. His leadership improved. He basically did everything we asked of him and more."

Davis completed his four-year high school career with 2,141 points and averaged 8.7 ppg off the bench as a freshman when the Red Raiders won the Division 2 state title behind Kobe King, also a Mr. Basketball award winner. 

As a sophomore, Davis increased his output to 22.5 ppg before averaging 22.9 ppg as a junior. As a senior, he scored a career-high 44 points in a win over La Crosse Logan, and had 42 in a 73-64 loss to a Minnehaha Academy team out of Minnesota that boasts players in the top 10 nationally in both the 2020 and 2021 classes. 

"There were many games this season where Johnny played about half of the contest because we were up so much and didn't want to run up the score," Fergot said. "He also understood that, at times, his scoring needed to go down so he could get others involved and we could become a better team. He excelled in that area as the season progressed."

Davis and his twin brother, Jordan, also a 6-foot-5 guard, earned scholarships to play for coach Greg Gard at Wisconsin and committed together last June.

Their father, Mark Davis, is a former standout player at Old Dominion who also played locally with the Continental Basketball Association's La Crosse Catbirds and briefly with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks.

To see a list of past Mr. Basketball winners, please click here.

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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