11 games into his sophomore season junior, Jordan Davis was leading his team in scoring and assists.
On December 17, the Bears traveled down highway 85, where they faced Denver University in a matchup UNC was projected to win. A second half surge by the Pioneers downed the Bears.
Davis soul focus wasn’t on basketball that day, but in a Las Vegas hospital where his girlfriend had just given birth to their first child, Jordynn Davis.
“My stomach was in knots the whole day,” Davis said. “I realized she was in labor about four hours before tipoff and I tried to focus on the basketball game, but I couldn’t help myself to think about becoming a father.”
Davis wasn’t going to let fatherhood be taken away from him but the game he loved as just as much, could be if he didn’t continue to put the work in.
Davis knew that, and less than 24 hours after Jordynn was born, the junior was back in the gym. But this time, he had a new purpose.
“I expected him to take a couple days off, to grasp becoming a father and basically to enjoy it, but he wanted to get back to work,” coach Jeff Linder said. “He treated the whole situation like a professional athlete. He was all smiles and happy then it as back to the grind. We were all happy for him, but we knew he and the team had a long season ahead of them.”
Everybody has had those rough days, where they just want to go home to their families and get away from the hardship of life.
A Division I basketball athlete like, Davis, doesn’t get the luxury of getting away from everything and spending time with his daughter because of the long distance.
His daughter still lives with his girlfriend in Las Vegas, so he relies on video chats and daily updates from his girlfriend to keep him up to speed on everything going on in his daughter’s life.
Not being able to see your child everyday will take a toll on any parent, and luckily for Jordan, he wasn’t the only one on the team who was missing their child’s life because of basketball.
“When he told the team he was having a kid, I knew I was the only person who could relate and give home advice, because not only have I went through it but I’m going through it now with my daughter back home in Indiana,” senior Anthony Johnson said. “So, from that point on, I’ve just been supportive and giving him the advice and knowledge that I’ve learned to go through this situation.”
When Jordynn comes to visit, Jordan handles the Diaper changing, bottle making and everything his daughter needs.
She gets him away from reality and through his social media, he can be seen laughing and joking with her, or singing some nursery rhymes. But on the court, he’s become a completely different person.
“She motivates and drives me to be the best player I can be, and I know at the end of the day, this can be my way to provide for her,” Davis said. “I couldn’t bank on just being a father, which is why I work harder than ever, and is why I treat every possession like it’s my last.”
The now junior has taken his daughters motivation and has exploded to one of the best seasons he’s had in his career. The Russell Westbrook comparison has suited the Vegas native well, averaging 16 points on the season, and having no regard for gravity and anybody under him.
When the game is on the line, Davis begs for the ball because he’s described each game as being a chance to show people his talent and potentially provide for his daughter and family.
Due to NCAA rules, he can’t provide financially, but when the NBA and professional leagues around the world look at him, they realize that he’s doing this for more than himself.
His daughter, who is now one, has been to three games this season, and his girlfriend describes her as being a future “baller.”
Basketball is the route Davis chose, but isn’t the route he wants his daughter to take if she doesn’t love it like he does.
“I probably will put my daughter in a number of sports activities when she gets older, to spread her horizons but ultimately its whatever she has a passion for,” Davis said. “She likes to watch basketball and hold it, so I feel she’s going to be an athlete, but if she wants to be a musician or scientist, we will love her the same.”
Davis was playing basketball for the love of the game and a way to get a free education but now with Jordynn, he’s found a new reason to put in the long hours and stressful nights on the court.