The 6’7’’ center for the Sunland Stingers, Martie Davis, is headed to the next level and will join the Florida State at Jacksonville Blue Wave in the fall.
While his fellow Abaconians and teammates Rolontae Knowles and Oswald Meadows, will be taking their talents to California at Butte College, Davis opted to blaze his own path at the junior college level in North Florida.
Since joining the Stingers a few years ago, the Stingers’ coaching staff watched Davis blossom into their “force down low,” which helped the team achieve this past seasons’ pair of firsts; winning the Grand Bahama Secondary School Athletic Association’s Tip-Off Basketball Classic; and the Hugh Campbell Basketball Tournament in New Providence.
Receiving the full-ride was something Davis called a blessing for he and his family. While doing so, he shared that coaches Jay Philippe, Marco Cooper and Bonnie Basden have been like an extended family during his time playing for the Stingers.
“This has definitely been a blessing to me and my family.
“Coach Jay (Philippe), Marco (Cooper), and Bonnie (Basden), I consider them my extended parents. They have helped shape and mold me into who I am today. When I started, I had the drive and the ambition to be the best, and they have actually pushed me, motivated me, and helped me gain the confidence I needed to be here today.
“Ms. Basden has been a coach, a mother and motivator to me. She had taken me on so many trips that gave me exposure and experience to help prepare me mentally and physically.
“Moving forward, I can only expect to keep learning and growing and hopefully the support system I have now, is what I'll have with me going into the future,” Davis expressed.
Like Davis, Coach Cooper spent years at the forward/center position for the Stingers during his tenure as a player. Now, a coach and seeing a lot of himself in Davis, Cooper was overjoyed for his “protege.”
Cooper added that it initially took some “tough love” to get Davis to see his potential, and said that method is what helped Cooper excel at the collegiate level.
“I could probably go a whole day talking about that kid (Davis),” Cooper shared, “but basically when he first came to us I immediately noticed he was a very talented individual, more so because he and I played the same position.
“He and I have this tough love kind of relationship on the basketball court because I hold him to such a high standard. I hold all of them (the players) to a high standard but I was extremely hard on him because I knew exactly, more than any other position, what to expect.
“My favorite story of Martie was that he called his mom one time and told her he thought I didn’t like him because I was always picking on him. I told his mom when she called me, the same thing happened to me when I was in college and my coach told me: ‘Coops, the minute I stop checking for you that’s when you need to worry. As long as I’m hard on you and correcting you, trust me, you should be happy.’
“I told Martie the same thing, that as long as I’m trying to correct you and hard on you, you’re good. But the minute I allow you to do things without correcting you, that’s when you should be worried.
“Based on what I’ve seen, I think he’s the best center we have in the country today in high school. He has evolved so much. He’s very talented, very humble and works extremely hard.”
The Stingers’ assistant coach advised Davis that the next level would be a major transition, having to adapt to the system he’s going to play in, and, it would take increasing his work ethic to do so.
“At the next level I told him it’s going to be a lot of big transitions but he’s more than capable of adjusting and fitting in into the programme he’s headed into. But, he has to continue to work hard and continue to not take days off and not take anything for granted.
“I think the game comes so easily to him because he’s so fundamentally sound, and, that’s what we try to do with our players; try and get them to play the right way so the game would come easy to them.”
Head Coach Philippe noted Davis developed greatly in his three years with the programme, spending his first two seasons coming off the bench and eventually becoming a starter this past season.
Philippe credited Cooper for his role in Davis’ development. He also sais that the Blue Wave’s coaching staff has a keen interest in players who play both the forward and center position.
“It was hard and difficult for Martie because he had never really played structured basketball before he came to us. It wasn’t until Coach Marco helped him out to improve his game. We’re so proud of Martie.
“The school he’s going to in Jacksonville, they like 6’7’’, 6’8’’ big men so they can pound the ball in the post and allow those guys to just go to work. So, we think that’s a good fit for Martie,” Philippe concluded.