The Wolfpack's deep recruiting class was considered to be one of the best in the country, even after star guard Lorenzo Brown failed to qualify. Scott Wood, Richard Howell, and DeShawn Painter were all highly-recruited athletes with multiple offers who built their reputations on the AAU circuit. Australian 7-footer Jordan Vandenberg enrolled after considering several schools, but Davis, surprisingly, didn't have as many high-major options.
At 6-foot-6 and 205 pounds, he starred for local Athens Drive High School. Playing in the Tri-Eight Conference, a league that featured Auburn signee Earnest Ross and Miami signee Garrius Adams, Davis more than held his own as he averaged 25.4 points and 8.3 rebounds to lead the Jaguars to a 22-6 record.
However, he just held offers from UNC-Wilmington, High Point, and Charleston Southern with heavy interest from Seton Hall before the Wolfpack extended an offer this spring that he quickly accepted.
For Davis, it was a dream come true, as he had always wanted to play for NC State.
"I've wanted to play for NC State ever since I was a little kid," he said. "There really wasn't a lot of other places I wanted to go. I waited for the opportunity, and it was a good choice for me."
"Being right here at State, I can see my mom whenever I want to and she can come over here and see me. I'm at the school I want to be at... I want to help us win."
NC State head coach Sidney Lowe and assistant Monte Towe had been tracking the local prospect's development for two years. They noticed his upside and athleticism but loved the intangibles he brought to the table, and Lowe felt he was a critical piece to the Pack's recruiting puzzle.
"He fit right into what we were bringing in," coach Lowe said last week. "We had other guys that we were looking at that we hoped would pretty much deal with the scoring aspect of it, but we needed that other guy.
"Josh scored in high school, but he also had those intangibles, the hustle, diving for loose balls, taking a charge. He had those things."
Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Dave Telep believes landing guys who "want to wear the uniform" is important for college programs.
"You need guys in the program who want to wear the jersey and are good basketball players, and I think that is Josh Davis," said Telep. "Great program guy... he is a guy who wants to be there. A kid who, on a yearly basis, his playing time probably depends on need and availability.
"He's going to have to work to find himself a niche in their program, but you're talking about an ace-character, high-grade, good basketball IQ guy who I imagine knows has to work his tail off to play and be in the rotation."
"Program guy" can mean a lot of things. Most associate it with being a player who comes in and sits on the bench the first couple of years, maybe playing some mop-up duty, and then earning playing time as upperclassmen. However, early indications are Davis has a chance to contribute this year for the Wolfpack.
"He's just a guy that sometimes it's going to be hard to not have on the floor because he does all the little things," Lowe stated. "He defends. He rebounds. He runs. He's going to get those loose balls. He's a finisher. He gets on the break or gets the ball inside... he finishes. He gets offensive rebounds and goes back up and gets fouled.
"He's a little bit deceiving. He's about 6'6, but he's got long arms. All of a sudden out of nowhere you'll see him go up in the middle of a crowd and grab a rebound over the big guys and go back up and dunk it. He's been doing that."
"Things have been good," said Davis. "It's fast paced, but I've picked up on it well. The coaches want me to play hard. That's the main thing. Right now that's what I'm focused on doing."
Davis has not only caught his coach's attention but is also earning the respect of his teammates. Junior guard Javier Gonzalez tabbed Davis as the player most likely to surprise observers this season.
"I think Josh is going to surprise people... a lot of people," said Gonzalez. "It's crazy that a lot of people, even around campus, act like he's probably not good, but they've never seen him play. Some players are good at some things... Josh can do a lot. He can rebound the ball, he runs the floor, and he can finish around the basket. A lot of people don't know that. People who know basketball notice those things.
"I know he's going to help us a lot especially running the floor, hitting the boards, and on the defensive end where he's going to block a lot of shots."
"I think I can play a few spots, but they are leaning towards me playing the small forward position," said Davis. "Maybe some other positions. I guess it depends on who we are playing."
Off the court Davis is equally strong. A solid student and high-character kid, his quiet demeanor indicates to others that he is all about taking care of business.
"I first noticed Josh when I played pickup with him over the summer," said Gonzalez. "He's quiet, but he plays real hard and goes about his business. He always gets the job done."
"Josh is just... he's fun," said Lowe. "He's a joy to have. He doesn't say much. He just works hard. That's his talent, he works hard. He's the type of player that you don't have to call a play for, he just makes it happen.
"He's the first one when I talked earlier about if the ball is on the floor having to yell or say why didn't you dive for it, he's the first one to go on the floor... the first."
"I just try and do everything the coaches ask me to do," Davis stated.