Arriving at Marquette in the fall of 1977 as a highly-ranked combo guard from Argo, Ill., Davis never fulfilled his own expectations on the court. Yet, he persevered through trying times – an experience that no doubt well prepared him for an enviable and impressive longevity streak in the business world. Today, the 47 year-old Davis is going on his 25th year as an outside salesman for the Joliet, Ill. office of McJunkin Corporation, a nationwide oil and gas industry supplier.
"When I was recruited to Marquette, I was told I'd be next in line behind Butch Lee, Jim Boylan and Gary Rosenberger, who all graduated after my freshman year," said the 6'2" Davis, who played in 15 games during his freshman season, averaging 1.1 points a contest. "But the next season Artie Green and Sam Worthen were brought in. They were junior college All-Americans. Their was no way they were going to play behind me. I have nothing against them – they're still good friends – but I was back at school for my sophomore year for a month, before I even knew they were enrolled at Marquette. That's when I found out college basketball was a business."
The shock of being recruited over after just one year in the program, proved to be a difficult – albeit quick – pill to swallow for Davis, who entered Marquette with impressive prep credentials and a nationwide reputation. A high school All-America, Davis was selected All-State by United Press International, Associated Press and the Chicago Daily News and ranked the 37th best senior in the country by Street & Smith; he briefly contemplated transferring to another school.
"I called home to tell my father I didn't think Marquette was the school for me after all," said Davis, who chose Marquette over scholarship offers from Michigan, Tulane, Wake Forest, Oral Roberts and Colorado. "He said if I quit Marquette that I shouldn't bother coming home.
"When I thought about it more, I realized that I'm not the type of person to hop from school to school. So, my priorities completely shifted from basketball to making sure I graduated."
Obtaining his diploma took on even greater significance when his son, Travon, was born in the summer before Davis' senior year.
"Along with Travon came a lot of responsibilities," said Davis, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in the spring of 1981. "I was more determined than ever to see it through and graduate. And six days after I graduated, I started my career."
Today, he's a well-established sales representative, who sells industrial pipe valves and fittings to refineries throughout northwest Indiana and northeast Illinois. Travon, who played point guard for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, from 1998-2002, is following in his father's footsteps. He currently works on Davis' accounts and will soon assume his own sales territory for McJunkin.
Davis is equally proud of his other children: Don, 22, and Asa, 16.
"It's a great feeling to see all my kids grow and achieve. They're all good people, so I feel like I've done something right."
Davis appeared in 70 games at Marquette, scoring 122 points. While his basketball career never developed as he would have liked, he has no regrets about choosing Marquette.
"I was very shy when I came to school, but through meeting so many impressive people there and playing in front of thousands more, I came out of it. Plus, part of the reason why I chose Marquette was because I thought they had one of the best business schools in the country – and I still believe that.
"I've also maintained some strong relationships through the years with teammates like Artie Green, Sam Worthen and Michael Wilson and I have nothing but respect for my coach, Hank Raymonds. He stood by me through tough times. He's truly a man to respect."