MINFORD — For Hunter Davis, in his own words, it indeed has been a long road back.
But now, Davis’ dream of playing college basketball will come true at Bethany College.
That’s because Davis, a four-year member of the Minford High School program and senior-season starter, officially announced his intention to play at Bethany —an NCAA Division III institution located in Bethany, W. Va.
Davis was originally scheduled to have his official signing ceremony last month, but Minford —like ALL other school districts in Ohio due to the threat of the coronavirus — remain closed by the order of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
Davis discussed his decision to attend Bethany, which is located near Wheeling and has an enrollment of 650 students with 80-percent of those being student-athletes.
As an NCAA Division III school, Bethany does not provide financial aid to students based on athletic ability, as the same standards for awarding financial aid are applied to both athletes and non-athletes.
The Bison, coached by Nick Hager, are members of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference for its primary conference —and the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference for its secondary league.
Bethany is the lone PAC member from West Virginia, as most of the league schools reside in western Pennsylvania.
Two Ohio universities —Case Western Reserve in Cleveland and Franciscan in Steubenville — are associate members.
Davis said three other schools expressed serious interest in him —St. John Fisher College, Lesley University and Madonna University.
“I chose Bethany because it was closer to home and the coaches showed great hospitality on my visits. I loved the atmosphere the program has and I feel confident I can succeed academically and athletically there. Bethany runs a motion-style offense and it is very similar to what we ran this past season,” he said. “I feel very comfortable running that offense and it was another major factor on why I chose them.”
Just being able to play at the next level, Davis explained, “has been a long journey”.
He missed his entire junior campaign with an injured knee, which actually extended through the summer prior to his senior season.
“My legs are not fully the same. For next season, I need to work on my ball-handling and getting stronger overall,” said Davis.
Davis, according to veteran Minford head coach Josh Shoemaker, did just that over the course of his final four months in the program.
“For Hunter to go on and play at the next level just shows his will and determination. Following reconstructive knee surgery, Hunter missed his entire junior year and summer leading up to his senior year. This past season was his only year of varsity playing time. But Hunter started every game for us, and was one of our best defenders and shot blockers. He was a great teammate and worried more about wins than his personal stats,” said Shoemaker. “Hunter will undoubtedly be a pleasure to coach at the next level and will work hard in the classroom and on the court.”
Davis already has high goals in mind —in addition to pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering.
“The other schools interested in me did not have the best possible career path for me to get my degree. My goals for Bethany are to make an immediate impact and work hard to win games,” he said.
Davis and the Falcons finished 13-10 last season, and aims to help the rebuilding Bison upon its 4-21 record, which included no victories in 14 road shows.
Davis didn’t, and won’t, forget the memories made at Minford.
They are all just a part of his long road back, as his dreams of playing college basketball will now come true.
“My four years at Minford have been great. I enjoyed playing with my friends and creating memories that I will remember forever. The atmosphere was always amazing and The Flock made it one of the hardest places to play in our conference (Southern Ohio Conference Division II). It was always fantastic having the amazing support from the Minford community each game day,” said Davis. “I would like to thank my coaches at Minford — John Strickland, Josh Shoemaker and Ben Richards — for making it a great four years. I would also like to thank Ohio Elite Basketball Academy and Coach Sean Stennett for always being there to help me on and off the court and getting me the exposure to many colleges, which allowed me the opportunity to play for Bethany.”
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved