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Davis not all-state? C’mon man!

March 14, 2012
Commentary by Troy Banning - Sports Editor ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

Jonny Davis is not an I kind of guy, never has been and probably never will be. When pressed, he says we, never I.

Truthfully, it can get frustrating for scribes like myself looking for a sound bite. After he punched then top-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock right in the mouth to the tune of 33 points in a three-point loss this season, he repeatedly talked about how close we came. Never once did he say I.

That type of attitude is a coach's dream. The consummate team player, always putting the interests of the group ahead of his own.

Article Photos

DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Jonny Davis (4) drives and scores against Storm Lake during Class 3A district play. Davis was left off various all-state teams despite a season in which he led Webster City to a 20-3 record.

Make no mistake, without Davis, Webster City doesn't go 18-0 in the North Central Conference. The Lynx aren't 20-3, they don't jump into the Class 3A rankings and they don't join the chatter of potential state tournament teams.

You watch him compete once and you notice his cerebral play, but maybe you don't walk away with his name on the tip of your tongue. But watch him play game after game, night after night, and two words will escape your mouth.

All. State.

All-state teams were released by both the Des Moines Register and the Iowa Newspaper Association earlier this week, and while there were plenty of deserving players recognized there were some that were kicked right in the can.

Davis received the kick.

While five players from the North Central Conference were honored on one or both all-state squads, Davis was nowhere to be found. Two players that didn't even make the NCC first team were all-state selections.

The words I want to use right now cannot be printed.

The all-state teams are tricky because there are NCC teams in three different classes - 1A, 2A and 3A - and that plays a factor. But to say most of those guys deserved the honor ahead of Davis is just foolish.

"In my mind, Jonny is an all-state player, there's no doubt about that," WCHS head coach Marty McKinney said. "So, yeah, it's a little disappointing, but I don't think it takes away from the season he had.

"A lot of it is political and a lot of it is people voting for people they've never seen play. If a lot of these guys had got the chance to see Jonny play, he probably would have been mentioned more."

Bloated statistics are what generate all-state consideration, and that's where Davis harmed himself. His numbers were solid - 15.6 points, 5.8 assists per game - but not Nintendo-like compared to some of his contemporaries.

Davis cared about one thing and one thing only, and if that cost him when it came time to hand out certificates of achievement, well, that was fine by him.

"Jon is a team guy. The thing he cared about every night was the W on the scoreboard," McKinney said. "He probably wouldn't say this, but I know as his coach, if he didn't score a point but did all of those other things he needed to do to win the game, Jonny was going to be happy. He'll take the wins and the conference title over any all-state recognition."

There were nights when Davis had to score to get the Lynx over the hump. There were other nights when he was simply able to slide into the background and provide other things to give his team the edge.

But he was always there, always serving as the team's backbone.

And then there's his defense, which on its own was enough to generate all-state status.

WCHS compiled a 4-1 record against ranked teams this season and in those contests Davis always drew the toughest defensive assignment.

Lasso multiple-time all-state guard Nick Clark? No problem. Davis held him to 33 percent shooting and below his scoring average twice - games won by the Lynx over eventual 2A state runner-up Fort Dodge St. Edmond.

Give up six or seven inches to Iowa Falls-Alden all-stater Casey Schlatter? Davis never blinked an eye and he owned the Cadet sophomore, limiting him to a combined 17 points and just five field goals on 17 attempts in two more Lynx victories.

What more do the voters want?

"It's those intangibles, those things that don't show up in the stat book, where Jonny excelled," McKinney said. "We asked a ton out of him and he stepped up every night. He played 32 minutes a game, and with all of those overtime games he played 36 or more. So you can't replace a guy like that. He's invaluable."

Davis will be missed, and he will be remembered, too. It's just too bad that the rest of the state didn't get the chance to witness what I had the privilege of watching every night.



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