WSU’s Davis embracing breakout season

Wright State senior Steve Davis (rear) had 13 points, 7 rebounds and an assist in an 81-62 men’s college basketball Horizon League opener at Oakland (Mich.) in Rochester on Thursday. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
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Wright State senior Steve Davis (rear) had 13 points, 7 rebounds and an assist in an 81-62 men’s college basketball Horizon League opener at Oakland (Mich.) in Rochester on Thursday. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Steven Davis is hoping to cram a career’s worth of basketball into his senior season. No blaming him for that, not when most of his time at Wright State University has been on injured reserve.

“I look forward to every game,” Davis said following Thursday night’s 81-62 setback to Oakland (Mich.) in what also served as one of four Horizon League men’s college basketball openers.

This has been a breakout season for the 6-foot-8 senior. That’s understandable, because until now foot injuries had derailed him, especially the last two seasons. He redshirted as a freshman in 2012-13 and played sparingly the next season. He initially injured a foot against Ohio State and missed the second half of the 2014-15 season. More leg and foot injuries forced him to miss all of last season.

Now healthy, he’s started all 14 games for WSU (9-5, 0-1) and is second in scoring (15.1 points) behind Mark Alstork (20.4). Davis also leads the Raiders in blocks (10) to go with 4.5 rebounds. He’s shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor (72 of 146) and is second to Alstork in 3’s (21 of 57).

That’s the kind of potential that enticed former WSU coach Billy Donlon to recruit the Indianapolis Manual High School standout.

“He’s had a good year,” WSU coach Scott Nagy said. “He’s hardly played his whole career. He’s been able to stay healthy this year and he’s been a good player for us.”

Davis already has established himself as an ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 favorite this season. Against Cedarville in a Nov. 3 exhibition, his alley-op dunk off a feed from Alstork rocketed to the No. 4 spot on ESPN’s Top 10 plays from that day. His spike against Urbana on Dec. 13 topped that by vaulting to No. 2 on ESPN’s Top 10 list.

“It went crazy on the internet,” Davis said to horizonleague.org. “It had like 500,000 hits within an hour.”

Davis seems to draw strength from his signature long and braided locks that are popular with many football and basketball players. He also had a monster throw-down against Oakland.

If he’s to do that again at struggling Detroit (2-11, 0-1) on Saturday, he’ll have to maneuver around the Titans’ Jaleel Hogan. The emerging 6-7, 250-pound junior had a career-high 22 points and eight blocks in Thursday’s 81-70 HL opening loss to visiting Northern Kentucky.

“I’m trying to focus on getting better every day with the guys and us getting better as a team and moving on and moving forward,” said Davis, WSU’s only senior starter and one of only two on the roster. “We’ve just got to bounce back next (at Detroit).”

• The team spent Friday afternoon helping prep lunches at the Detroit Salvation Army, just north of the Ambassador Bridge that links Windsor, Ontario, Canada, to the Motor City and within sight of Joe Louis Arena. The Raiders later practiced at the Titans’ Calihan Hall on campus.


SATURDAY’S GAME

Who: Wright State at Detroit Mercy

When: 3:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: TWC Sports Channel, ESPN3/106.5-FM