LEWISVILLE - Modern technology still keeps Lewisville boys' basketball coach Larry Davis relevant with the younger generation.
None of his players was born when he was setting state scoring records in the early 1990s at Denmark-Olar High School. A few were enrolled in prekindergarten when Davis picked up a national championship ring from the University of North Carolina and later transferred to the University of South Carolina, where he scored 1,068 points in two seasons and helped the school win a Southeastern Conference title.
Fortunately for Davis, all of his past high school and college exploits are still available through the wonders of social networking.
"I was talking to one of the kids (Tuesday) and he said he Googled me and he read an article that was in the Richburg newspaper," Davis said. "He looked at some of the stats I had during my high school days and he looked on the Internet and found some of my stats at USC and he said, ‘You're quite talented when it came to basketball.' I said ‘You think!' I said it was a lot of hard work and I had a lot of good coaches that coached me and pushed me along the way. We really worked hard and it helped me become the player that I was."
Having spent the past decade in the Charlotte, N.C., area working individually with youngsters on their playing skills after a six-year pro career that took him to nine countries in Europe and South America, Davis now hopes to translate his experiences into turning around a Lions' program that went 6-13 in missing the Class A playoffs last season.
It's a position that became open a month ago following the resignation of head coach Tony Busby. Friends with Davis dating back to his point guard days at Edisto High School, Busby was impressed with how the former Viking and Gamecock worked with his son, All-State guard Cortell (who originally signed with S.C. State, but later decommitted) and approached him about applying for the job.
After a meeting with athletics director Rusty Pemberton and four weeks of negotiations, Davis was hired June 29 by the school. Along with the opportunity to help more young men reach their potential, Davis saw similar attributes about Lewisville as his hometown.
"It's a small community and they're strong in sports and pretty much a, I won't say a commodity, but pretty much everybody gets up for the athletic events at the high school," he said. "You have a very good following in the community. You have a tight-knit group of people where everybody knows everybody. You have a lot of hard-working individuals and young men who will give effort and Denmark was similar. We had a lot of great talent to go through there and we had a great community."
Along with serving as an example of a player who rose from a small town to playing at the highest level of college basketball, Davis plans to implement many of the teachings of his former high school coaches Ernest Nimmons (D-O), Fletcher Arritt (Fort Union Military Academy) and Eddie Fogler (University of South Carolina).
He credits Nimmons with "laying the foundation and giving him the skills and fundamentals to play at a high level and instilling the work ethic to deal with challenges on and off the court" and Arritt and Fogler for keeping him humble and understanding the importance of getting everything out of the game.
Davis knows this upcoming season is a rebuilding year as he's still trying to get to know his players. He's also in Region 3-A with defending Class A champion Great Falls and legendary head coach John Smith.
"He's one of the pioneers in Class A," Davis said. "He's been around a long time. He's very knowledgeable of the game of basketball and he's great working with young men. So when you put those things together, you get a winning tradition and he's done that at Great Falls."
More than anything, Davis wants to develop an unselfish team that will play tough defense, play together and play hard. Together, all three factors are a recipe for success at any level.
"Just because you're from a small community, it doesn't write you off where you can't succeed to play at any level that you seek out to play," Davis said. "But it takes a lot of hard work. But hopefully, with my experiences and all the fine coaches that have touched my athletic career, my life as a whole, would be able to rub off on me in an effort to rub off on some of the kids that I come in contact with."
LARRY DAVIS PROFILE
Home: Denmark, S.C.
Born: North Carolina
High School: Denmark-Olar
Colleges: University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina
Achievements: Holds four S.C. High School League single-season records set in 1991 for most points (1,162), 30-point games (26), 40-point games (40), free throws (244) and part of team record for most games over 100 points (8) at D-O ...Was member of Class A state runner-up in 1990 and Lower State finalist in 1991 ... Was a member of the 1993 NCAA Division I national championship at North Carolina ... All-American (1997) and All-SEC at the University of South Carolina ... A member of the 1,000-point club and one of three players to reach the plateau in just two seasons...A member of the 1997 SEC regular-season champions at USC.
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