When Brandon Davey graduated from high school, he did not exactly get his doors knocked down by scholarship offers.
The Houston County product did have a few choices from small schools that made offers in soccer, a sport that Davey had been playing since he was 4, but he did not have any in basketball, the sport he wanted to play at the college level. So he decided to head to Fort Valley State on a purely academic scholarship.
Five years later, things are a lot different.
After walking on to the Wildcats basketball team as a freshman and then quitting when his academics suffered, Davey just finished his career at Fort Valley State by averaging 19.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He spearheaded a charge that had the Wildcats in the SIAC championship game and was named the conference player of the year and a member of the SIAC alltournament team. He also was named to the Daktronics Division II All-South first team and a first-team Historically Black Colleges and Universities All-American.
A few weeks ago, Davey spent a week in a showcase camp that featured 70 of the top seniors from smaller Division I schools, as well as Division II and Division III schools, hoping to improve his chances of landing with a professional team.
Not bad for a soccer player turned basketball star.
Soccer was my first love, and I guess I was pretty good at it, said Davey, who played all over the field at Houston County during his soccer career. But once I started to get serious about basketball, the more I liked it. I think the last few years I have just learned way more about the game, and as I played more, the better I got. I think the growth and progression came from being around the game more, and right now its just about doing anything I can to excel on the court.
His high school basketball coach, Stephen Walls, said he isnt surprised that Davey has continued to improve and has turned into an All-American.
When I got to Houston County and Brandon was a sophomore, I had heard that he was a soccer player first, Walls said. When I saw his size and the way he ran, I realized that he could be great on a basketball court, and he worked very hard to develop a 15-18 foot shot. There were times when I had to question whether he was serious about basketball, but a lot of that was because he made everything look effortless and was just so relaxed. He is still that way today.
Davey has already graduated and is working toward a masters degree in public administration. Still, he holds out hope that he can continue to play basketball at the next level.
I never really thought about playing professional basketball in high school. said Davey, who has grown to 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds. But now that I have that opportunity, I just want to embrace it and keep working as hard as I can. Right now, I am totally focused on basketball. Fort Valley State has given me a lot of opportunities, and I wouldnt give these last few years back for anything in the world.