FRONT ROYAL — At a young age, Gabe Davis started watching a lot of the NBA. It didn’t take long before he became hooked on the sport.
The Warren County junior point guard said that once he started playing, he fell in love with the game and now it’s the only sport he plays. Davis said he especially loved to watch Washington Wizards point guard John Wall.
“He’s my main inspiration,” Davis said of Wall. “Just the way he plays — I really model my game after him, honestly. The way he runs the team — he’s the perfect leader for any team. He goes out there, he gets 30 points, 11 assists a game — and that’s how I want to play. I want to get my teammates involved.”
Davis said he’s always played the point guard position and he wouldn’t want to play at any other spot on the floor.
Davis said he likes that as a point guard you can score and you can also help your teammates score.
“I don’t like being like a scorer first or a passer first,” he said. “I just like being someone that helps their teammates — a leader. I like being someone that gets the best out of their teammates. I think I’ve always just tried to just get the best out of my teammates every single practice, every single game — even pre-game. I try to just motivate them and get them going. So I feel like that’s my role.”
Davis said he’s always had good court vision and a good understanding of where he and all of his teammates are supposed to be. He said he also enjoys the responsibility that comes with being a point guard.
“You need a lot of knowledge to be a point guard,” Davis said. “You need to know what defense the people are playing in. You need to know what to tell your teammates to do. You need to know what offense you need to run, what defense you need to run. You just need to know where everyone is on the court, what to do with the ball. You just need to know all that stuff. I think it takes a lot of responsibility to be a point guard. You just always need to know what’s going on and have a great vision of it over the floor.”
Warren County boys basketball coach John Kelly said it’s a role Davis has done well for the Wildcats this season. Kelly said that Davis’ energy and love of the game shows on the court.
“I’ve known Gabe since he was playing rec ball back when he was little,” Kelly said. “Him and (Kelly’s son) Michael always played together and were teammates. He’s always had a love for basketball. He’s always been real excited about playing and you can tell on the court that he loves playing basketball. That’s one of the joys in his life. He’s energetic, he’s a nice kid. He’s extremely coachable and he’s very humble.”
Last year, Davis moved up to the varsity level and started some games for the Wildcats at point guard. He said that it was a nerve-wracking experience for him.
“It was kind of scary, and I didn’t really know how the year was going to go,” Davis said. “I knew that coach Kelly wanted me to move up but I didn’t know if I was going to get as much playing time as I wanted and it ended up going pretty well though, I thought. It prepared me for (this) year. It showed me a lot more about basketball because the varsity level is the highest level of basketball I’ve played. It really showed me that there’s so much more than rec and (junior varsity) — so that was pretty cool.”
Davis said his teammates last season, especially the seniors, really helped him feel like part of the team and helped him get adjusted to playing at the varsity level.
This season Davis is the only returning starter for the Wildcats and he has had to take on an even bigger role this year. Not only is Davis the team’s starting point guard, but he is also the team’s leading scorer. Kelly said that Davis is averaging around 17 points per game this year. Kelly said that if Davis isn’t scoring, the Wildcats usually are struggling on offense as a team.
One big improvement this season for Davis has been his 3-point shooting. Davis said he knew that it was a weakness of his so he focused on improving that aspect of his game in the offseason and now he is the team’s top 3-point shooter.
“My shot last year was pretty flat,” Davis said of his 3-point shot. “So I was kind of trying to work on my arc and so that’s gotten to be one of my big strengths this year. So I worked on that probably the most in the offseason, because I knew if I have my drive and my shot it’s going to be hard for the defenders to pick which one they want to guard me in.”
Davis said that one thing that has helped him this season is being in the backcourt alongside six-foot freshman shooting guard Elias Carter. The pair have made a strong offensive combination for the Wildcats.
“Elias is my guy,” Davis said. “I think that him being a freshman is insane considering all the skill that he has. I knew (watching) him on JV (last year), seeing him ball out on that, I knew that he was going to be my teammate this year. I’ve just been trying to kind of mentor him, teach him how to play on varsity because this is his first time on varsity. He’s doing great. His vision is insane. The way he sees the court — it’s so crazy. Just having him back there with me is great. If I’m having an off night, he’s having a good night or vice versa. It’s just really good, and when we’re both clicking it’s really hard to stop.”
The young Wildcats, who have only two seniors on the team, are 4-8 and 1-2 in the Class 3 Northwestern District. They play at Manassas Park today.
Davis said the team got off to a slow start but he thinks the time the team had off over Christmas break really helped and they will play much better for the rest of the season.
“This Christmas break we really worked on being more of a team, trying to get all five people on the court scoring, all five people getting open opportunities to score,” Davis said. “So I think we’re going to be better than last year. I’ll say that the team we’re showing right now in practice, we’ve been having good practices, keeping everyone in shape, ready and focused. So I’m really glad that we picked it up now and I think 2020 is going to be good.”