Photo courtesy of Marcus Stevens.
By David Cordova
This is Part 6 of a six-part series on the Seton Hall men’s basketball program, as it goes through the month of December. Part 6 is talking about the newest Pirate recruit, Dashawn Davis.
The month of November is a big month for Division I schools. It is the first signing period in the year where the high school prospects sign their letter of intent, which means they will spend four years at the college program of their choice.
For many programs, it could be a time of heartbreak, if they don’t get the player that they plan on. But on the flip side, it could also be like Christmas, if the prospect that they have been coveting is finally secured with the binding letter of intent.
For Seton Hall, Christmas came early in the form of one recruit in Dashawn Davis, who was the first recruit in this year’s recruiting class. He is a 6-foot-3 guard who hails from the Baychester section of The Bronx, New York and is one of the best prospects in New York City in the current senior class of 2019.
Last season, for Our Saviour Lutheran, he averaged 18.5 points per game and helped the Falcons win 31 games. On the Nike EYBL circuit with the New York Lightning, he averaged 13.7 points per game and averaged 53% from the field.
On November 26th, in front of friends and family, he announced his collegiate decision at John Philip Sousa Junior High School in the North Bronx, and chose Seton Hall over St. John’s and Old Dominion.
When asked why he decided to commit to the Pirates, he replied, “Well, it just felt like the best opportunity, I felt like Coach Willard, Coach 40, they was being genuine with me, they could bring me to the next level.
On what Seton Hall had that the other two choices didn’t have: “I felt like they was a better program overall, like they was for one another. They were for each other, rather than for self.”
Now, is he excited to play in the Big East? “Of course, I watch TV, I watch games every day, I could just picture myself right now playing,” he said.
Next year, he will be playing at the Prudential Center and will be performing in front of at least 15,000 Pirates fans. He will bring them the flash and also the hard-nosed play that he showed this summer on the Nike EYBL circuit and at the famed Dyckman Tournament in the Inwood section of Manhattan.When asked if he was ready to play in Manhattan, he replied, “Yeah, definitely, the crowd is crazy there, the atmosphere is crazy there, I just want to play there so bad.”
On what he will bring to the Big East, he replied, “Aggressiveness, scoring and intensity.”
“Dashawn is a talented guard who will add versatility, toughness and a great defensive mindset to our program,” Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard said. “He can play multiple positions and is equally good off the ball as he is on the ball. He is one of the better players coming out of New York City, he fits the gritty style we play here at Seton Hall and will make an impact for us.”
Next year, Davis will be joined by Tyrese Samuel, a 6-foot-8 forward from Montrèal, Quebec, Canada, who is finishing his final high school season at Orangeville Prep in Ontario, Canada, which boasts NBA alumni in Thon Maker (Milwaukee Bucks) and Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets).
All the Pirates fans need to know is that next year, they can expect a show from both of these newcomers. Pirates fans can stay tuned for the coming attractions.
Davis, on the other hand, is learning one thing that he’s never had to do before: be a floor general. He has been thrust into the role of point guard when Our Saviour Lutheran junior guard Posh Alexander was lost for the season earlier this month, due to an injury he suffered at the Marshall County Hoopfest in Marshall County, Kentucky.
With Alexander’s absence, Davis has been flourishing. On December 17th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, he went for 15 points and eight assists in the Falcons’ 75-74 victory over Roselle Catholic in the first annual Kyrie Invitational, which was a Nike event named for NBA All-Star & Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving.
Although certain transitions are tough in basketball, Davis is taking it in stride. After all, Seton Hall has been known to make point guards out of players that have been known to also be scorers.
Will this transition be successful when he gets to Seton Hall? Only time will tell. But for right now, the kid they call, “Rams,” is learning the tricks of the trade of being a floor general and will bring his act to South Orange this summer. Once again, stay tuned.
The last two games have come out in the Pirates’ favor. On Friday, December 19th, they dominated in their 90-76 victory over Sacred Heart at the Prudential Center. Three days later, they faced a tough battle when they played Maryland, a tough team from the Big Ten Conference. In front of 12,555 fans in the Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland, the Pirates emerged victorious and left with a 78-74 victory.
Now that they’re 9-3 after their non-conference schedule and have gotten three big wins against NCAA Tournament-bound teams such as Miami, Kentucky and Maryland, they have been battle-tested and are ready for Big East Conference play.
Their first matchup will be at home in Newark, Saturday, December 29th, against their longtime foes from across the Hudson River, the undefeated St. John’s Red Storm, who will enter the Prudential Center with a 12-0 non-conference record.
The question now is, will the Pirates be the squad to end their perfect streak or will they be a part of the Red Storm’s list of victims? All of those questions will be answered soon enough on that date.
However, from the looks of everything, Seton Hall looks poised to make their fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance under Coach Willard. As they say, all that’s well ends well.