"Josh can definitely play on that level," said coach Clemons. "I'm so proud of him. He's a hard worker and really has put in the time and effort to improve his game. He had a strong senior year for us, and it paid off for him. He got the offer he was hoping to get."
For whatever reason, Davis flew under the recruiting radar. Last spring, he attended a few tournaments with the NC Gaters, but played mainly the post and didn't have a chance to showcase what he could do on the wing. Mid-major programs tracked his progress but it would take a big senior year for Davis to land high-major offers.
After averaging 17 points a game as a junior, Davis took his game, and team, to another level this season. He led Athens Drive to a 22-6 record while averaging 25 points and 10 boards a game. According to coach Clemons, he was their workhorse and go-to player.
"He did a lot of things for us," said coach Clemons. "He scored for us... that was big. We needed him scoring. He also rebounds the ball and he defends.
"He always takes the other team's best offensive player, and he's a shutdown defensive guy. He was for us. He does a lot of things well."
NC State has been the school of choice for Davis for a couple of years, and the Wolfpack began extensively evaluating him after he attended their Elite Camp last summer. Assistant coach Monte Towe headed up his recruitment and stayed in touch with coach Clemons, along with Justin Gainey, the Wolfpack's Director of Basketball Operations.
Gainey, a former point guard for the Wolfpack, played high school basketball for coach Clemons.
"We've been talking to NC State for a while," said Clemons. "Coach Towe has been coming over here, and we've also talked with Justin [Gainey]. I coached Justin at High Point (NC) Andrews... he went there before going to Greensboro Day School.
"We've been in contact with Justin and Monte, and they told us all along how they felt about Josh. They've liked him for a while now."
Despite the interest, NC State was in a scholarship crunch. For much of the basketball season, the Wolfpack had just one available scholarship and was pursuing prospects such as John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.
There had been some talk that the Wolfpack would see if Davis could prep for a year and become a member of their 2010 class due to the scholarship situation. However, once it became clear that Trevor Ferguson and Brandon Costner would not be returning, the Wolfpack had two more available scholarships and could extend an offer to Davis.
"We knew about their scholarship situation at the time," said Clemons. "Personally, I think that was one of the biggest holdups early. They weren't sure and didn't have enough scholarships at the time. Once they had a better feel for that, they offered Josh a scholarship and he accepted."
The decision to commit to NC State ended a great week for Davis. Over the weekend, he played in the Carolina's Classic in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina and was named MVP for the North Carolina squad after scoring 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds to lead his team to a win. Other talented players on his team included: Auburn signee Earnest Ross, Miami signee Garrius Adams, Wake signee C.J. Harris, and Charlotte signee K.J. Sherrill.
Davis is very familiar with Ross and Adams, as he faced both of them several times in his career as the trio all play in the Tri-Eight Conference.
"I feel like Josh can definitely play with those guys," said coach Clemons. "He did so here for us. He really did a great job of defending Adams... I'm not sure why Josh seemed to fly under the radar.
"Both Ross and Adams are jumpshooters, and they probably have a better jumpshot than Josh right now, but he can develop his shot. He didn't have to do that for us... we didn't ask him to take a lot of jumpshots. Now, he's got a nice mid-range game, but he didn't have to shot a lot of long jumpshots. I do know he's such a hard worker that he will put in the time to develop that part of his game even more."
According to coach Clemons, Davis would have ended up at Seton Hall or UNC-Wilmington had NC State not extended a scholarship offer.
At 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, Davis has ideal size to play the wing in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Now he'll need to continue developing his skills where he'll be effective away from the basket. Coach Clemons believes he could play some in the post if asked to do so.
"He can play on the wing... he can definitely play on the wing. I don't know exactly what Sidney has planned for him, but I think he can go in and play on the wing. I also think he would be able to play some for them on the block."
In fact, coach Clemons compares him to another talented in-state prospect who decided to play at NC State, Marcus Melvin. A Fayetteville (NC) native, Melvin arrived at NC State as a combo forward who was extremely efficient in the post but by the end of his career he had developed into a very good 3-point shooter.
"I never thought about it until here recently, but one of my assistants mentioned to me that Josh is very similar to the kid NC State had a few years ago, [Marcus] Melvin," said Clemons. "Josh is a lefty who makes plays on both ends of the floor. I don't think he's as tall as Melvin right now, but he's still growing.
"He's 6'6, almost 6'7, and I think he's still growing. He grew an inch or so from last year, and he's a young 18-year old. He just turned 18... played most of his senior year at 17, so I think he still has some growing to do and can continue to grow physically."
With all that being said, Davis brings a lot to the table off the court. Fully qualified and solid in the classroom, he has a tremendous work ethic and a high-character kid.
"He's a great kid," said coach Clemons. "He's going to take his work habits with him to the next level. His will to work hard... his character. He's going to add some character to NC State.
"I'm really happy for him."