Lake Norman & Mooresville

Former Titans adjusting to college game

DeMon Brooks and Jordan Downing are used to being stars every time they step on the basketball court.

But the former Hopewell duo is settling into new roles for the Davidson basketball team.

Brooks is averaging 9 points and 5 rebounds in 18 minutes per game, while Downing is scoring 6 points and grabbing 1 rebound in 12 minutes per contest. Both freshmen are trying to do what they can to help the Wildcats win.

"It's been a big adjustment for both of us, going from high school to the college game," said Brooks, who teamed with Downing to lead Hopewell to 52 wins in its last two seasons. "But I think we are getting used to it. We're starting to learn what our roles are on this team."

Downing, who has now teamed with Brooks for five years, agrees.

"I'm just trying to do whatever the team needs me to do to win," he said. "If that means score, rebound, play defense or one or all of those, that is what I'll do."

Brooks and Downing are focused on trying to help a young Davidson team (5-4, 1-1 as of Dec. 17) contend for a Southern Conference title.

Brooks' breakout performances came in Puerto Rico, where he had 15 points and 7 rebounds against West Virginia and followed that in the next game with 11 points and 9 rebounds in an upset of Nebraska.

Meanwhile, Downing's best game to date came when he had 12 points and 4 rebounds in a loss to Rhode Island.

Davidson head coach Bob McKillop says both freshmen are coming along nicely.

"The first thing that jumps off the page is that both are a joy to coach," he said. "They are both wanting and willing to do what it takes to get better each and every day in practice, games or whatever we are doing. It's a credit to the way they were raised at home and on the basketball court."

McKillop and Davidson basketball are no strangers to success from Charlotte-area players, as four local products currently play including Brooks, Downing, McKillop's son Brendan McKillop (Charlotte Catholic) and junior guard Will Reigel (Charlotte Latin).

McKillop also has coached other recent local stars including Stephen Curry (Charlotte Christian), Matt McKillop (Charlotte Catholic) and Terrell Ivory (North Mecklenburg). Matt and Ivory currently are on the Wildcat coaching staff.

"Having local guys play well for us really energizes the community and fan base in the Charlotte metro area," said McKillop. "A lot of people take pride in one of their own wearing the Wildcat uniform. It's something we really love to do."

Brooks and Downing are the latest two local high school stars looking to make a name for themselves at Davidson.

"The two of them are getting better and better each day," said McKillop. "They have made great strides as players from where they were when they got here to where they are now."