Davis has Franciscan aspirations | RecordCourier.com

Davis has Franciscan aspirations

Douglas High senior Dalton Davis, center, is flanked by his parents, Jim and Barbara Davis, during a ceremony on Thursday to announce his basketball letter-of-intent signing with Franciscan University. Shown in the back are, from left, Jeff Evans, Douglas athletic director coach Corey Thacker, Karen Lamb, director of basketball operations for Douglas, and coach Nick Lonnegren.
Dave Price |

At 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Douglas High senior Dalton Davis needed to rely on his bulldog-like tenacity to play in the post this season. Now he is looking to put that same tenacity and take a game to a whole new level at Franciscan University (Steubenville, Ohio).

“I’m really excited to go out and play basketball and represent my high school,” Davis said Thursday afternoon after a signing ceremony held in the high school commons. “I’m only going to get better from here.”

While his statistics may not have been flashy for the Tigers this season — 7.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game — those numbers don’t reflect what Franciscan coach Joe Wallace was looking for in the recruiting process. Among the numbers that did stand out were his 4.0 grade point average and 100-percent attendance record in high school.

“We’re very excited that he’s coming here,” said Wallace, who just finished his first season as head coach of the NCAA Division III Barons. “Dalton is the epitome of a Franciscan student-athlete. He’s going to be tough. He’s going to work hard, in-season and out-of-season. He’s very driven. He’s never missed a day of school. If you put the whole package together, he’s a special kid.”

Davis received honorable mention all-Sierra League recognition while primarily playing inside the for Tigers this season. His role will be different at Franciscan, a Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference school located 40 miles west of Pittsburgh.

“They’re going to use me as a shooting guard or small forward,” he said.

Wallace likes the versatility Davis has shown from that experience as a post player, combined with other skills he possesses.

“A lot of players play out of position in high school, but Dalton can really shoot the ball and will be able to play like a stretch forward for us,” the coach said. “He will be able to play on the perimeter, we love his toughness in the way he rebounds, and he can definitely stretch the floor with his jump shot. He didn’t get much of a chance to showcase it much (in high school), but we do know that’s in his arsenal.”

Douglas coach Corey Thacker expects Davis to be a valuable addition to the Barons.

“Dalton has been working hard to play at the next level,” Thacker said. “He knows that he will have to step up his level of playing to get time at Franciscan, but it has been his goal for a long time. I am looking forward to see his progress as he gets older. His coach will love the work ethic and attitude.”

Davis explained that his path to Steubenville actually began when he was a seventh grader when he began attending basketball camps at St. Mary’s College in the Bay Area. As a result of his camp effort, Wallace received a referral from current San Jose State assistant coach Tyler Ojanen (two formerly coached together at San Jose State).

“Everybody loves him there,” Wallace said of Davis. “He was such a hard worker and would do everything the coaches said. Dalton is so driven and so passionate, and that’s what you’re looking for at this level. It’s not easy. It’s not high school anymore. It’s more intense, so you want players who are going to put the time in because they love it.”

No doubt, Davis enjoyed his basketball experience at Douglas. That was evident by the friends he greeted at the end of his signing ceremony on Thursday.

“I had a lot of help … I couldn’t have done it without all my friends and family here,” he said. “It’s been a real blast to be a Douglas High School Tiger and play basketball here with all my friends and all my coaches who helped me get to where I want to be.”