JC C James Davis Continues His Strong Play

James Davis, a 7-foot center who signed with Minnesota in the early signing period last year before running into legal problems, has continued his strong play this season. GoldenSports.Net caught up recently with James Davis' mentor, Ricky Williams, to learn the latest on Davis' recruitment and about the NBA interest that he has received.

James Davis has led Schoolcraft to a 21-4 start this season. Davis had 19 points and 12 rebounds in their 77-69 win over Division II Wayne County Wednesday night. Schoolcraft (21-4) picked up its 10th win in its last 11 games with the victory.

Division II #12 Mott had previously snapped Schoolcraft's seven-game win streak, topping the visiting Ocelots 87-76, despite Davis finishing with 40 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocked shots. NBA teams Toronto and New Jersey both had scouts in attendance.

Davis is shooting 66.1% from the field, ranking among the leaders in the country in that cateogry.

James Davis had told GoldenSports.Net this summer that he is still loyal to the Gophers. However, Minnesota and other schools are taking a wait-and-see attitude with the former Minneapolis North center to ensure that he takes care of his academics and stays away from off-the-court incidents. There are also questions whether he will be able to receive his degree. Mentor Ricky Williams said that should not be a problem for Davis.

"He might have to take a math class, possibly on-line, but he should get his degree."

Williams said that despite interest from the NBA, he would prefer that James spends at least one year in college.

"Right now, I think so. Charlotte, UTEP and Southern Mississippi have been showing the most interest."

Williams said that Minnesota has not been actively recruiting Davis. This is most likely due to questions about his academics and off-the-court concerns.

Head coach Carlos Briggs admitted to GoldenSports.Net previously that the Gophers could be at a disadvantage as the academic requirements make it harder for junior college players to gain admission to Big Ten schools.

Briggs said that seven NBA teams called about watching Davis at the Daytona Beach Battle of the Beach that was held from Nov. 24-26. Briggs said that several NBA teams, such as Portland and Toronto have called and want to keep tabs on Davis, if he is unable to be academically eligible to play Division I basketball.

However, Briggs feels that Davis needs more seasoning.

"He needs a year of Division I basketball. He has the ability to play in the NBA, but the question is longevity. The track record of JC players going to the NBA (Kedrick Brown, Qyntel Woods and Donta Smith) is not great. He would help himself by going to a Division I school. However, he has the size and skills that will intrigue teams."

Davis committed to Minnesota after visiting the campus last September. He left Garden City (KS) CC after an altercation with Broncbuster teammate B.J. Walker.

Davis had averaged 11.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game as a freshman for the Broncbusters in 2003-04. He left Garden City and attended Los Angeles Southwest (CA) CC for a week before returning to Garden City.

Davis did not play as a high school junior, but emerged as one of Minnesota's top seniors. Davis helped lead the Polars to the Minnesota Class AAAA state championship as he averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Davis, who was expected to help fill the void left by graduating senior Jeff Hagen, was arrested March 10 for carrying a gun without a permit. Head coach Dan Monson said he met with Davis and concluded that "he needs next year to meet his academic requirements and sort through his personal affairs."

Davis had weapons charges against him dismissed in Hennepin County District Court. Judge John Q. McShane ruled that police had no probable cause for the vehicle stop and search that resulted in Davis being charged with a gross misdemeanor.

Davis told GoldenSports.Net this summer that Minnesota showed how much they want him with the support they have shown him.

"I'm still loyal to Minnesota. I went through a lot of turmoil last year and they were there for me. The coaches came to court for me and showed love for me."

Schoolcraft is one of the top junior college programs in the country and the Ocelots are hoping to return to the NJCAA Tournament next March after missing the tourney after three consecutive appearances.

Davis played this summer for the Sabes/Petters team in the Pulley Summer League and scrimmaged with the current Gophers during the summer.

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