As He Takes Country By Storm, Detroit Mercy Freshman Antoine Davis Harboring Thoughts Of NBA

The freshman ranks second in the nation in scoring.

Will Burchfield
January 16, 2019 - 2:32 pm

Courtesy of Detroit Mercy Athletics

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Two months ago, few college basketball fans would have recognized the name Antoine Davis. Now you can't miss it. 

The freshman point guard for Detroit Mercy ranks second in the country in scoring. With a smooth stroke from beyond the arc, Davis is lighting up defenses and stirring up intrigue. His electric start to his college career -- 27.7 points per game -- has some people wondering if the NBA beckons in the near future. 

"I mean, it’s a thought, but I feel like I’m not even there yet honestly. Despite the numbers and stuff like that, I’d love to just stick around and just win for the program," Davis told Tony Ortiz of 97.1 The Ticket. 

A wiry 6'1, 170 pounds, Davis might not have an NBA-ready body. But he's got an NBA-ready shot -- and some might say an NBA-ready trigger. He leads the country in both field goal attempts and three-point attempts per game, and he's hitting 42 percent from deep. That ranks third in the nation among players who've jacked at least 150 threes. 

He's been especially hot of late, averaging 35.5 points in his last four games. He's shooting over 50 percent from three during this span. 

Davis was far from a household name on the recruiting circuit. Home-schooled in Texas, he wasn't ranked within the top 300 players in his class. He originally committed to Houston. But when one-time Indiana head coach Mike Davis left his job as head coach at Texas Southern for the same position at Detroit Mercy last summer, his two sons followed him.

Antoine, the younger of the two, would play for the Titans. And Mike Davis Jr. would serve as an assistant coach. 

Davis said it's a blessing to have his dad on the sideline. 

"It helps a lot. I’m blessed honestly. It helps with my IQ of the game, I know a lot more than I did before. It’s just making me grow, not just as a player but as a person as well," he said. 

After spending much of his basketball career in relative anonymity, the soft-spoken Davis is starting to draw national headlines. He was recently featured in Sports Illustrated. All that attention has naturally caught him off guard. 

Asked if he's surprised by it, Davis said, "Yeah, I am, because I never really got attention like that because I wasn’t really on the map as far as being recruited and having five stars. I was, like, a three-star player." 

Now he's simply a star. A star with thoughts of the NBA, although his focus remains on the present. After a 3-9 start to the season, the Titans have opened 5-1 in conference play to lead the Horizon League heading into Saturday's rivalry bout with Oakland. 

They've been fueled by Davis -- though he's quick to note he hasn't done it alone -- and a desire to disprove the critics who picked them to finish last in the Horizon

"We all have a chip on our shoulder because they picked us last. They didn’t even think about us being competition in this league," Davis said. "So we go out and practice and think about how they really disrespected us, to be honest, because we’re a way better team than what we were picked." 

"We paid attention to it, embraced it and now we’re sitting here 5-1," he added. 

If there's one knock against Davis' personal numbers this season -- aside from the disclaimer he's taking more shots than any player in the country -- it's probably this: quality of competition. In arguably the four toughest games on Detroit's schedule -- Temple, Butler, Dayton and Xavier -- Davis' scoring average dipped to 21.8 points and he shot barely 30 percent from three. 

But that's in the past. It's all about conference play now for Davis and the Titans. And who knows -- if they keep winning, Davis just might get another shot to show what he can do against a big-name opponent. A berth in the NCAA Tournament would be Detroit Mercy's first since 2012 and just its second this century. 

So for Davis, the NBA can wait. His sights at the moment are set more squarely on March. 

"Just to keep improving, for myself, and then seeing what I can do to make the team better," he said of his goals the rest of the season. "And just hopefully being able to say that we’re conference champions by March and be able to be in the locker room and watch our names get called on Selection Sunday."