Steven Davis spent five years at Wright State and was enjoying himself so much that he was hoping to stay even longer.
He missed a full year and more than half of another season because of a foot injury. Coach Scott Nagy sought a sixth year for the 6-foot-8 forward under the NCAA’s medical-redshirt policy, but the request was denied — to the disappointment of both parties.
“I had a blast at Wright State,” the Indianapolis native said. “I love the school, I love the environment. And the fans are crazy. They show so much love and so much support.
“You walk around the neighborhood and businesses, and people say, ‘There’s Steven Davis. He was on TV.’ Little kids walk up to me and say, ‘I’m your biggest fan.’ It made me feel so great.”
The high-flying Davis is likely to generate the same level of enthusiasm at the next stop in his basketball career. He has signed to play professionally this season with Egis Kӧrmend in Hungary.
The club plays in the top league in the country and has won several championships, including the Hungarian Cup in 2016.
“Me and my agent went back and forth with a couple different teams. I got some pretty good interest all over,” said Davis, whose season begins in early October. “I’m just happy with the opportunity I have now.
“They’re a really good team. I’ve been watching film on them. They win a lot of games. They’re involved in international play. They finished fourth in the league last year, and they get good exposure. I felt it was a really good situation for me.”
Davis averaged 14.9 points and 4.3 rebounds as a senior with the Raiders. He can shoot from long range, but he’s best known for his acrobatic dunks.
Two of his slams last season made ESPN SportsCenter’s top-10 plays of the day. He also competed in the NCAA Slam Dunk Contest at the Final Four last season. He had just one attempt in competition — and received a perfect score — before having to withdraw because of a groin injury.
Egis Kӧrmend has five U.S. players currently listed on its roster, including former Ohio State guard Lenzelle Smith Jr., Minnesota guard Andre Hollins and George Washington and UConn forward Lasah Kromah.
“They’re getting a great athlete, but he’s more than that,” Wright State coach Scott Nagy said of Davis. “The thing I really appreciate about him is what a good teammate he was.
“He did everything we asked him to do. He was a super coachable kid. … Defensively, he can guard a lot of people because he’s such a good athlete. But mostly, he’s a good young man.”
Davis graduated with a degree in sociology and is preparing for his journey overseas with intense workouts and making attempts in his personal life to get out of his comfort zone.
“I’m really not much of an adventurous person. People have been telling me I’ve got to change, to open up and be willing to try new things,” he said. “I’ve learned to do that over the summer. I’m trying different foods and going new places where I probably never would have gone.”
Davis has found he’s liked expanding his horizons — for the most part, anyway.
“I ate caviar for the first time. I didn’t like it at all. Usually, when I’d look at something like that, I never would eat it,” he said. “I also had bass. It doesn’t look good, but it was OK. It was tolerable.
“I’m just trying to get in a different mode so it won’t be such a shock when I get there.”