Amari Davis | Photo by Kelsie Tomlinson | The Wright State Guardian
After never having the same basketball coach for two straight seasons, Wright State University senior Amari Davis may have finally found the perfect place to fit.
The guard moved from his hometown high school in Trotwood, Ohio to Wisconsin, then Missouri and finally has found a good fit back home. When leaving Missouri to come to WSU, Davis chose his hometown university over playing in the SEC.
Even though his numbers this season have been less than others, that does not seem to matter to Davis. Recently, he chose to spend his last year of eligibility here at Wright State, so the Raiders will have the talented shooter and rebounder for another season.
“I love it here, I love the coaching staff, teammates,” Davis said. “You know, I haven’t been on a team where I was with the same coaching staff for more than one year. So, I thought, ‘Why not come back and get another year and get my degree too?’”
As Davis was an incredibly talented local player, he was on WSU’s radar for recruitment. He led Trotwood-Madison High School to a State Championship title and was the Division II state player of the year as a high school senior.
Davis chose to head to fellow Horizon League school Green Bay, where he was a thorn in Wright State’s side whenever the two teams played. Davis was the league freshman of the year and dropped 35 points on the Raiders in the Nutter Center.
“[Playing with Davis is] fun for sure. I remember playing against him,” Trey Calvin, a fellow senior with Davis, said. “He was scoring 30, 35 points on me, so it’s good to have him on my side.”
Leading the scoring for Green Bay got Davis attention from some Power five programs, which eventually got him a big offer from Missouri. Despite coming from a lower tier conference, Davis also shined in the SEC.
He played in 32 games and had 14 double-digit scoring games for the Tigers, including a game against Ole Miss where he was the first SEC player to shoot perfect from the floor and the free-throw line, shooting 10-10 for 23 points.
Even though Davis had a fantastic first season in the SEC, he entered the transfer portal once again. Davis could have stayed at Missouri and had another standout season as a sixth-man, but for him, there was something missing.
“When you go into a program, you’re thinking you’re gonna solidify a spot, you’re gonna be there for more than one year,” Davis said. “But, with new coaches coming in, it’s hard to establish a real relationship.”
After his first year at Wright State, Davis has decided to stop moving around. He and fellow senior Calvin have chosen to stay another year at Wright State, much to the joy of WSU’s head coach, Scott Nagy.
“I think [Davis has] grown a lot this year,” Nagy said. “He’s a great kid. I love coaching him, and he responds to everything we tell him. I’m happy for him.”
It’s not about the stat sheet
WSU being a good fit for Davis is more than just being able to start or being able to score. Compared to his time at Green Bay, where he scored 16-17 points a game, Davis averaged 8.5 this year.
Davis still keeps his lethal mid-range jumper that he has honed since high school, but his game has evolved in this past year. Even when he was out of the starting lineup because of great play from other WSU players, Davis kept working on his game.
“I took it upon myself to find other ways that I can help this team besides scoring,” Davis said. “That’s a big thing to me, but with this team, it’s about defending.”
Rather than put his head down, Davis’s teammates and coaches are behind him, and he is working for his chance to play for WSU.
“It could have [discouraged him], but he’s handled it well. He’s advocating for himself, which I want him to do,” Nagy said. “He’s asking, ‘What can I do to play more?’”
On top of it all, Davis now gets to play in front of his friends and family regularly, a sight that he only experienced a few times before this year.
“It means a lot, playing in front of friends and family in Dayton. Anytime I come here and play, I play for the fans and I play for my teammates,” Davis said.