Cabarrus

Energetic Harrisburg senior works hard to lead Patriots

Davidson Day's Rashun Davis has dedicated himself to basketball.

The senior wakes up at 4:30 a.m. during school days to go to the gym and work on his game before driving 45 minutes from his Harrisburg home to attend school.

After a full day of classes, he again hits the hardwood whether the Patriots are simply practicing or facing an opponent.

That kind of work ethic, says Davidson Day basketball coach Ron Johnson, is what makes Davis a stand out and has earned him a Division I college scholarship.

The third-year Patriot coach added that Davis' "coachability" also is attractive to colleges.

"He's very open to criticism," Johnson said. "He understands that myself and other coaches just want to make him better and he accepts that."

Davis, who signed to play at Radford next year, also has the basketball skills. The energetic point guard is able to penetrate defenses with his speed to find open teammates or finish strong at the basket.

"He has a quickness that a lot of teams can't match," said Johnson. "I think that puts a lot of pressure on other teams."

The 5-foot-11 Davis started the year averaging more than 15 points, five assists and three steals per game.

"Coach has taught me that changing speeds really kills people," Davis said. "So I've tried to put that in my repertoire - to change the pace."

Davis says he tries to be a pass-first player, knowing how important it is for him to get his teammates involved.

"It's my job to get everybody going," said Davis.

Having been at Davidson Day for three seasons, Davis also has the experience necessary to lead the team.

"It's nice to have a guy that knows what you want as a coach," said Johnson.

Davidson Day started the year with a 14-2 record, getting a big win against rival United Faith along the way, in large part due to Davis, but he's not alone.

Coming back from a season-ending knee injury he suffered last year, senior Phillip Anglade has energized the team, says Johnson. Anglade is averaging nearly 13 points a game while also getting some Division I attention..

"He's done a great job, averaging about 12 rebounds a game," said Johnson. "I think at any level, to do that is pretty significant."

Seniors Dorian Albritton, a 6-foot-4 forward, and Richard Brown, a 6-foot-5 big man, have also given Davis consistent help. Albritton and Brown signed to play respectively at Virginia Military Institute and Army.

Jason Eddie's play has also impressed Johnson.

"He's a guy that can play at multiple places - inside the post, can shoot the ball from the outside," said Johnson, adding that the senior's experience also gives his team a boost.

The coach said younger guys, like Caleb Mercer, Kenny Hairston and Justin Jordan, have given the Patriots key minutes off the bench.

Davis is excited about the potential this year's Patriots have.

"Out of the three years I've been here, I think this is the best group that I've been with," said Davis. "As for the senior class, we're all clicking and transferring that to the younger kids on our team. It's like a real brotherhood."

Johnson said although the team has shown glimpses of what it can really do, it's still nowhere close to reaching its full potential. Johnson said he keeps pushing his team to bring a high level of intensity to practice and games. The coach knows it's a long season.

"If I felt like we peaked already, that this was as good as we ever were going to get, it'd be nice, but at the same time I'd be a little bit concerned," said Johnson. "I know other teams will get better."

Johnson, who won his 300th game as a coach last month, and Davis agree the team's goal is to win a state championship.

They both know that will not be an easy task, but they're not shying away from the challenge.

"We're going to have to work for it," said Davis. "It's not going to be given to us."

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