Davis caps stellar career at Dover

Dover’s Eden Davis made the All-State first team for the second year in a row.

DOVER — Coaches were in contact with Eden Davis, so many different people were in his ear, telling him what school to go to.

This had nothing to with college though. This was about where the Dover native would go to high school.

When Davis was in grade school, there were out of state schools who wanted him to move for his high school basketball career.

But Davis wanted to have his city represented across his chest. He was staying home at Dover High.

“There were a lot of schools and people telling me I could do better somewhere else,” Davis said. “I begged to stay. I said, ‘Let’s do one year and see how it goes.’ I was always trying to stay. I wanted to play for the city I live in. Then once I started, I don’t believe in quiting. If I start somewhere, that’s where I want to finish.”

And by the time Davis finished his career at Dover, he leaves the school with a legacy matched by few.

Davis made the All-State first team this year for the second season in a row. He was one of two Dover players on the first team, along with backcourt mate Elijah Allen, who won Player of the Year.

The Senators went 45-3 over the last two seasons, including back-to-back Henlopen Conference titles and an undefeated regular season in 2019.

“I had so many people making sure with me that Eden was coming to Dover because he could’ve gone anywhere he wanted to,” said Dover coach Stephen Wilson. “But he told me in the sixth grade he wanted to stay here. The backcourt we had is going to go down in history as one of the best backcourts in the conference, if not the state.”

A star is born

Davis was a starter on the varsity squad as soon as he arrived at Dover.

That was a tough year for the Senators. They were rebuilding after graduating the core players from a team who went 16-3 in 2016.

As a freshman, Davis’ season started out 1-4 and the Senators eventually ended the year with a 9-11 record.

Wilson recalled a game against Cape Henlopen near the end of the season. Dover started slow and was down 17-9 at the end of the first quarter.

Wilson pulled the entire starting lineup, Davis included. But he told Davis to sit near the coaches.

“I kept Eden close to tell him, you didn’t do anything wrong but we need you, it’s now your team,” Wilson said. “I told him he doesn’t have to pass the ball as much as he did. He always wanted to get the seniors that year involved because he was unselfish. But I told him, ‘Hey, this is your time now, your team, let’s go.’”

Davis ended the game with 34 points.

“Playing varsity as a freshman you want to play the best as you can right away,” Davis said. “You want to show people that you’re ready for that level.”

Dover went 9-11 again the following year but made the playoffs and won its first round game. The signs were there for what the Senators would turn into.

And a lot of it started with Davis at the point guard.

“Even when he first began here, his first step was so quick that people couldn’t stay in front of him,” Wilson said. “He’s a quiet kid, but he’s a quiet assassin. He always thinks before he says something. Most importantly, he was always leading in the classroom, always getting As. His GPA never got below a 3.6”

It all comes together

Dover won its first game of Davis’ junior season against Sussex Tech.

And the Senators kept winning. They reeled off 24 consecutive victories to reach the state championship game for the fifth time in school history.

Dover led Sanford with less than two minutes to go in the title game but ended up falling 48-45. The two teams were primed for a rematch this year, both were in the semifinals but the season was canceled due to the coronavirus crisis.

While a shot at potential state championship was taken away, Davis got to reminiscence about the journey after the season.

“Freshman and sophomore years we weren’t winning a lot of game and if we did win it wasn’t by much,” Davis said. “Junior year, everything just clicked. We were winning, we brought the whole city together, had everyone behind us and had a lot of confidence. It was a great group of guys to play with, like a brotherhood.”

Wilson hopes the Dover community can appreciate how special this group was.

“We’re going to look back, think about this team and how spoiled we were,” Wilson said. “It was special to watch Eden grow and mature into the student-athlete he became. Him and all the seniors are winners. They set the bar high here and I’m thankful for them. You’re only as good as your players and I had some special ones.”

What the future holds

Davis isn’t done with basketball.

He’s attending Texas A&M Corpus Christi, a Division I school in the Southland Conference, on a full scholarship.

Davis signed for the Islanders prior to the start of his senior season. He is the only guard in the recruiting class, giving him a chance to compete for a starting job right away.

“I’m really excited and just ready to get to work,” Davis said. “I got a mindset that I’m playing, I’m not waiting around.”

Davis had a big summer on the AAU circuit which led to numerous Division I offers, but he said Texas A&M Corpus Christi seemed like the school who wanted him the most, calling it a great fit.

“They always kept in touch and they really cared a lot about me and my family,” Davis said. “That really stood out to me. They showed us a lot of love.”

Wilson said the coaching staff even made the effort to visit Dover multiple times after Davis committed. He knows the type of player the Islanders are getting.

“He can come in right away and play a lot of minutes,” Wilson said. “He’s well-conditioned and they see that from watching our practices. They know he can handle the rigors of a college schedule, his grades will be up and that he comes from a family that has done a wonderful job of raising him.”