Now he's a 6-p, 195-pound rising senior power forward, participating in the nation's top events, including this week's NBPA Top 100 Camp.
"I didn't know that growth spurt was coming," Davis said. "A lot of people thought I'd be no more than 6-5, but now I'm 6-10."
With the added height came a dominant junior season, but few noticed.
"I was averaging 35 and 15, but it's a real low profile school," he said. "There's no more than 40 kids in each grade. I decided to play AAU to get my name out there."
His first appearance on the AAU circuit in April opened a lot of eyes, regardless of the fact that an injury limited his play.
It doesn't take long for a coach or scout to notice a 6-10 post player with a 7-4 wingspan and a soft touch.
"I was playing guard so I developed that soft touch and as I grew I kept it with me," he explained.
The past experience as a guard has additional advantages, instilling a greater understanding of the game and giving him some versatility, which is helpful against more physically developed opponents.
"I used to stay on the perimeter a lot, and now I've got to go down low and my weight hasn't caught up with me," Davis said. "I've got to put on more pounds. It makes it a little harder playing with bigger guys, but I use my strengths – pulling up for jumpers, shooting a three, or going past them with the dribble.
"Since I was a guard I know where to be at the right time; that helps me get open shots," he continued. "I had a big guy on me today, but I was using my soft touch and kept moving. And I'm really long, so I try to use it to my advantage."
Following his emergence onto the national scene, Davis debuted at No. 9 in the Class of 2011 rankings by Scout.com, and coaches have come calling.
"I'm looking at Ohio State, Kentucky, Louisville, Syracuse, Kansas, Kansas State, Duke and North Carolina," he said. "Duke and Carolina came on recently, in the last three weeks. The others came in after my first two tournaments (this spring)."
The Tar Heels made their first serious contact two weeks ago, with a phone call from assistant coach Steve Robinson.
"They called my dad one day and my dad told me and asked if I wanted to talk to their coach, Coach Robinson," Davis recalled. "He said he needed a big man around the rim who can shoot the ‘J' and stretch the defense out."
"I've been a Carolina fan for a long time. It's a good program."
The next step in UNC's recruitment of Davis is a visit, and that may happen next month.
"I plan on taking a visit," he said. "We're going to South Carolina for the Peach Jam and after that I might take a visit to North Carolina and see what they are about."