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Hoop dream is a game of balance for Beamer's Kevin Davis
Kevin Davis isn’t your normal, run-of-the-mill high school student. At 6-foot-8, Davis stands out in a crowd.
You can’t help but notice when Davis roams the halls at Todd Beamer High School. Davis’ height makes it very hard for him to eat lunch, check his locker or just sit down in math class.
He is literally the big man on Beamer’s campus. And to nobody’s surprise, Davis has made a name for himself on the basketball court.
The senior forward has led the Titans to their third-straight postseason appearance by averaging an ultra-impressive 16.6 points a game and 13.6 rebounds. He led the South Puget Sound League in blocked shots and highlight-reel dunks.
“He has a ton of natural ability,” first-year Beamer head coach Brent Brilhante said. “He is a legit 6-foot-8. He can get up the floor and jump out of the gym. Handles the ball well and can shoot from the perimeter.”
But basketball is only the tip of the iceberg in Davis’ life as a high school student-athlete, and nowhere near his top priority.
In fact, the sport comes in way, way behind his true passion in life — his 1-year-old baby daughter, Kaylanie.
It’s tough enough being a high school student these days, and even tougher when you’re one of the most talented basketball players in the state of Washington.
“It’s got its ups and downs,” Davis said. “It’s kind of hard to come to school and balance everything out with practice and stuff. The hardest part is probably the amount of time I have to rest. Practice is so late sometimes and then I have to go back and do homework.”
“I have had the pleasure of coaching many great players like (Michael) Hale and (Marcus) Tibbs,” said Brilhante, a Decatur graduate and former Gator assistant coach. “And played alongside a couple great ones in Quincy Wilder and Aaron Bellessa. But Kevin has the most God-given ability of any athlete I have ever been around. No doubt about it.”
Kaylanie comes to every Beamer game and currently lives with her mother, Alecia, who is also a student at Beamer and still Davis’ girlfriend. Kaylanie celebrated her first birthday on Jan. 22 and just a day after, Davis tallied a season-high 27 points during a Titan win over Spanaway Lake.
“I think she is the reason why I’m doing so well this year,” Davis said.
Davis’ gaudy stats this year and unlimited potential on the basketball court kind of came out of nowhere during his senior season. This is mainly because he didn’t even make the team at Beamer last season. According to Davis, he was “cut” before the 2007-08 season by former coach Connie Richardson after failing one class and dealing with the impending birth of Kaylanie.
But things have worked out for the best for the Titans and Brilhante.
“The first time I saw him in the halls at Beamer, I knew he would be extremely talented,” Brilhante said. “It felt like I was walking by a guy that should be roaming the halls of an ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) or Big East school.”
Something that could become a reality in the near future.
“My goal is to play (Division I basketball),” Davis said. “I think I can do it. I want to go somewhere close to home for my daughter’s sake. But I’m not sure yet.”
It looks like college basketball programs will have to wait a year. The plan is for Davis to come back to Beamer in the fall for his fifth year of high school. He struggled with his grades last year during his girlfriend’s pregnancy.
“Brent (Brilhante) has just done a great job with him and getting him on track,” said Beamer athletic director Jerry Peterson. “I’m really proud of Kevin. He’s a great kid.”
Davis is planning on applying for another year of eligibility with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) to play basketball next year. According to the WIAA handbook, a hardship exists only when some unique circumstances concerning the student‚Äôs physical or emotional status exist.
“Kevin is why the rule was written,” Brilhante said. “But we’ll see what happens.”
Davis is not exactly an unknown commodity in the talent-rich Pacific Northwest high school basketball scene. He earned a coveted spot on the Friends of Hoop AAU top team last summer. The Friends of Hoop's No. 1 team has included players like Decatur’s Marcus Tibbs, University of Washington freshman Isaiah Thomas and current Bellevue point guard Aaron Bright, along with current pros Spencer Hawes and Martell Webster.
“I didn’t get too much playing time with them,” Davis said. “But I travelled a little bit.”
Davis and Beamer open the postseason 6 p.m. Friday night at the South Puget Sound League Tournament. The Titans will take on the Auburn Riverside Ravens at Thomas Jefferson High School in a battle between the fifth-place teams from the North and South divisions of the SPSL.
Beamer ended its regular season last Thursday with a 72-57 win over Graham-Kapowsin to even its overall record to 10-10 on the year and 8-7 in the SPSL South. Riverside finished 7-9 in the North.
“Our team just has to play hard and do the best we can,” Davis said. “That’s what we’ve been trying to do, but we have been kind of unpredictable as to how we’ve been playing.”
The winner of the Beamer-Auburn Riverside game will earn the SPSL’s ninth seed into the West Central District Tournament and the loser will be the 10th.
This will be the third year in a row that the Titans have played at the district tournament, but the school is still searching for its first win. Beamer will open on the road against either the winner of the SPSL or the Narrows League champion.
“It’s going to be tough,” Brilhante said. “But we’re just going to go out and play and see what happens.”
The Titans will go only as far as Davis takes them. Potentially, the postseason could be a coming-out party for him and the rest of the Titans, who won’t be much more than an afterthought at the 16-team West Central District Tournament.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Kevin Davis could play at the highest level,” Brilhante said. “He still has a lot of room for improvement, and that is a very exciting idea for a guy that averages a double-double and has two triple doubles on the season.
“His future is as bright as they come, if he can apply himself in the classroom and create more of a drive to get better and realize how good he can really be. If he really loves this game, he can play it for a very long time, and get paid to do so.”