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Stockbridge's Davis signs with Jacksonville University

By Doug Gorman

dgorman@news-daily.com

For Stockbridge senior Chris Davis signing a basketball scholarship came down to a matter of geograpy.

The two-time Henry Daily Herald Southern Crescent Player of the Year hoped to go to school in Florida.

He also wanted to go somewhere that fit his niche for playing in a fast-paced offense.

So although Georgia and Marshall came calling too, Davis found himself drifting to the Sunshine State where he felt right at home after visiting Jacksonville University.

Tuesday morning, it became official as Davis signed with the NCAA Division I school, which is a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

"I really liked the coaching staff and the school, so it was a perfect fit," Davis said.

For Davis, playing at Stockbridge High School is full of memories. He best will be winning the Region 4-AAAA tournament after beating Dutchtown this year and helping his team to the second round of the state tournament.

"It was great getting to go to state with my teammates," he said.

Davis lettered at Stockbridge all four years, but really came into his own as a junior when he averaged 20.7 points per game. He increased his average to 26.9 points per game as a senior.

Over the final two years he played for the Tigers, he scored 1,407 points.

"I wanted to get better every year and increase my scoring, and I was able to do get better in all aspects of the game," Davis said.

Stockbridge coach Duane Kelley has witnessed plenty of basketball talent during his coaching career, including during his days at Westover in Albany, but he ranks Davis right up there with the best players he has seen.

"Chris is a great kid," Kelley said. "He is a better person. This is a great day for the Stockbridge program. We are trying to make this a great program, but this is Chris' day, and we are very proud of him."

Like so many talented high school players, Davis also developed his game through AAU competition, playing for the GT Stars.

His AAU coach Eric Smith knows good things are ahead for Davis.

"We have watched him since 2004, and he has matured on and off the floor," Smith said.

Kelley hopes other returning members of the Stockbridge basketball team will follow Davis' lead.

The Stockbridge coach wanted younger members of the Tiger basketball team at the signing ceremony so they could get a little taste of what it was like to earn a scholarship.

"We want the kids to see what this was like, and hopefully it will motivate them to do great things too," Kelley said.

Davis isn't putting too much pressure on himself heading into the next phase of his basketball career.

"My goals in college are just to become the best player I possible can," Davis said.

"I want to contribute anyway I can."

Kelley can't wait to see his former player excel at the next level.

"I think the sky is the limit for Chris," he said.