Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Central High's Nina Davis, two-time Best of Preps top player, commits to Baylor

article and image from CommercialAppeal.com

The University of Memphis put on a full-court press — including a meeting with school president Dr. Shirley Raines — in an attempt to secure the services of Nina Davis. But ultimately an offer from the defending national champions was just too good to turn down.

Davis, the two-time Pepsi Best of the Preps player of the year from Central, verbally committed to Baylor Tuesday afternoon, choosing the Bears over the Tigers and Vanderbilt. She will make her choice official during the early signing period, which begins Nov. 14.

“Everybody thinks I picked Baylor just because they won the national championship,” said Davis, a 6-1 wing who is ranked 52nd in the nation according to ESPN Hoopgurlz.

“That is a plus but I really bonded with coach (Kim) Mulkey and the players. At the end of the day, it was Baylor that had me the most.”

As excited as she is to be a Baylor Bear, the decision was also a gut-wrenching one for Davis. She’s good friends with current Tiger guard and former Arlington star Ariel Hearn and Lady Warriors coach Niki Bray said the U of M was hoping to make Davis the face of its program as it moves into Big East Conference play after this season.

Davis said she didn’t come to her final decision until early Tuesday morning and then had to call and break the news to U of M head coach Melissa McFerrin.

“That was the hardest phone call I’ve ever had to make. I heard (McFerrin’s) voice crack. I was still torn until 7 o’clock this morning. It’s not like there’s anything bad about either school and it makes me feel good to know that (Memphis) said they will support me regardless.”

Despite her national profile, Davis said she still has doubters and she aims to prove them wrong at the next level.

“I’ve always had people doubt me wherever I went,” she said. “They (Baylor) had a drawing board with the players on it and there’s one other girl that plays my spot. If I go in and outwork her, I can be in the starting line-up.”

Said Bray, “She’s got to get stronger. They see her as being a 3-4ish type of player. They feel like she can create mismatches. And she can rebound the ball so well, you saw that all summer long going up against bigger girls. She’s just a very efficient player.”

And they’ll be getting a player who’s even better off the court than she is on, according to Bray.
“She’s been the rock of our program,” Bray said. “I’ve had teachers tell me they’ve rolled out of bed (especially) to see Nina play. She’s been our leading scorer since she was a freshman but it’s the intangibles that set her apart. She is so humble ... she’s just a special child. What you see is what you get with her.”
Davis, who averaged 19.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game for the Lady Warriors last season, is the second high-profile Memphian to commit to Baylor in the last week, joining White Station class of 2014 standout LeRon Black.

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