Written by Vinny Messana, email@example.com Thursday, 20 February 2014 14:25
Last year, Dowling’s women’s basketball team came up one game short of being crowned National Champions. This year, the leader of the men’s team, Darien Davis, is looking to follow suit.
“That’s definitely what we’re shooting for,” said the junior from Middle Island. “The goal is the win the ECC (East Coast Conference), then the regional and possible the National Championship.
The lofty goal does not seem too unrealistic when you consider the level that the Golden Lions are currently playing. At 20-4 overall, they are currently atop the ECC and in good position with a 14-2 conference record. They are outscoring their opponents by an average of five points per game (73-68) and shooting an impressive 45 percent from the field as a team. Much of that is due to Davis, who was recently named ECC Player of the Week for his tremendous performance over Mercy Collage and STAC. In the two games, he averaged 33.5 points, shot 17-for-23, including 4-for-7 from three-point range. Additionally, in their 77-76 overtime victory over NYIT, Davis hit the game-winning layup as time expired to finish the game with a team-leading 23 points.
“It feels great,” he said in regards to the late-game heroics. “I love having all the pressure on me…I love it, there’s no feeling like it!” he added.
The phrase “ice water in the veins” is meant to be a compliment to a player who does not feel pressure. There are very few players at any level who thrive under duress in late-game situations. One such player, Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, happens to be Davis’ favorite player.
“I always respected him as a player,” said Davis. Those types of players are the ones that can carry a team, even if they are not averaging 30 points per game. Players cut from the mold of Bryant can overcome a shooting slump and hit a crucial shot to give his team the lead. Some players deflect the pressure to someone else. That is something a player like LeBron James has been known to do through his career. Only the most confident shooter will accept the burden of the final shot. That is precisely the type of leadership that Davis is looking to provide for the Golden Lions.
Fortunately, Dowling is not relying on just Davis. Although he is averaging 20.8 points per game and a key cog in their offensive attack, the Golden Lions are also reliant on the defensive ability of Justin Alexander. The 6’3” Staten Island native is averaging nine rebounds per game and a team-leading 56 blocks on the year.
Speaking of defense, Davis feels he is still in need of improvements. “I need to work on my rebounding,” said Davis. “Just overall defense,” he added.
Picking on a weakness is
something most star players do. They are rarely content with their ability, but even Davis admitted he is pleased with his performance thus far.
“I would say I’m content with my scoring,” he said. “We’re winning and the team is playing good,” he concluded, making sure he praised his teammates for their contributions.
How far the Golden Lions go will depend largely on the performance of Davis. Ironically, just two years ago he was playing for Mohawk Valley Community College. Upon graduating Longwood High School, where he led his team to the Long Island Championship in 2010, Davis wanted to “get away from home” and played for the community college.
After one year, he was ready to come back home and take care of his newborn child and attend a school closer to Middle Island. Dowling was the perfect fit, and he made an immediate impact on the team. As a sophomore, he played in all 29 games (starting four), averaged 13.4 points per game and shot a solid 45 percent from the field.
One year older and more experienced, Davis is now the go-to scorer on the best team in the ECC. He is focusing on finishing up the season strong, but is also keeping his future in mind.
“I would like to play overseas after college,” Davis said in regards to his future. Should that plan fall through, he is majoring in psychology and would look to pursue a career in that field.
For now, Davis is riding a hot-streak and has his Golden Lions primed for a playoff push. Keep an eye on the junior as he looks to take Dowling to new heights.