A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

Nikki Davis – VT Women’s Basketball


PUBLISHED IN THE COLLEGIATE TIMES Wed. Jan. 28, 2009

There is a Japanese proverb that states, “When you have completed 95 percent of your journey, you are only halfway there.”

Sophomore guard Nikki Davis is beginning that second half of her college journey at Virginia Tech. Davis is a transfer student from the University of Alabama, and in the small number of games she has played so far, she is making quite the impact — averaging 8.5 points per game, which is good enough for third on the team.

Coming out of Lexington Catholic High School in Kentucky, Davis, who competed in four state championships, decided to head south to Tuscaloosa and play for the Crimson Tide.

“I knew I wanted to get out of Kentucky,” Davis said. “I took a couple visits there (Alabama) and liked the facilities, players, weather and the fact it is a big SEC school. I think the conference really drove me there.”

Things didn’t turn out as planned and Davis decided to look elsewhere for a place to play.

“There were a number of things,” that made her decided to transfer, said Davis, who played in all 30 games and started 19 for Alabama in her freshman season, of deciding to transfer. “Honestly, life’s too short not to be happy. I wanted to get closer to home and see my family a little more.”

With Ty Evans — an assistant coach at Alabama — knowing a coach here at Tech, Davis saw the Hokies as a real possibility.

“We got a release, which if you are a recruit you send a release to any school you are interested in,” said head coach Beth Dunkenberger of the transfer process. “We got her on the phone, invited her to come for a visit. She came and liked it.”

“During my visit, I went out with the girls and had fun,” Davis said. “I liked the ACC conference, which I think is the most competitive in the country. I had an opportunity to play and help build a team.”

The only thing standing in Davis’ way of playing was the NCAA rule of sitting out one year after transferring. Dunkenberger thinks the rule is a good idea.

“It makes kids think long and hard about making the decision,” Dunkenberger said. “It prevents the situation where, if you have a bad day at practice, you can transfer and play right away. It also prevents other schools from tampering and talking kids into transferring.”

Knowing she had more than a year to wait for playing time (Davis left the team three months before transferring), Davis looked at the year as an opportunity.

“At first, I wasn’t too excited about it, but I understand why it is in place,” Davis said. “I got in the gym, got a lot of practice and worked on things I needed to get better at. It was hard in the beginning because I was conditioning, running, weightlifting and not getting to play (in games) …

“I learned a lot basketball-wise, though, and how to see the game from a coaching perspective. I appreciate the game more, now.”

Nikki Davis

Nikki Davis

Besides learning about the game and constantly practicing, Davis was able to attend home games and cheer on the team.

“She always sat with the team on the bench,” said Dunkenberger. “She was one of our loudest people on the bench. She has a very energetic and spunky personality, and it is very contagious. She gets her teammates and fans excited. I love her enthusiasm for the game.”

“I wanted to be there for my teammates and encourage them as much as I could,” Davis said.

Davis’ first game was in Texas for the South Padre Island Shootout. Her first action was against Southern Methodist on Dec. 20. In the 13 minutes she played, Davis scored 10 points, had one assist, four turnovers and five personal fouls.

“Obviously I was a little rusty and nervous,” Davis said with a chuckle. “But I was super-excited to play. After about three games I was OK.”

“I think it’s taken her a little time — which is normal — to get in the flow of things with everyone else,” Dunkenberger said. “It’s certainly different when you are practicing from when there are people in the stands and the lights are on. I think she has progressed nicely.”

Davis is certainly an asset to the team. Davis and Dunkenberger agree that her speed is her best attribute.

“She has another gear with the ball in her hands,” said Dunkenberger. “She is very quick, and that helps break presses and find seams in the defense.”

“I think transition (is my best attribute on the court),” Davis said. “I don’t know if it’s my best, but it is my favorite. I love pushing the ball, making decisions, attacking and setting someone up.”

Fellow guard Lindsay Biggs is pleased by Davis’ presence as an extra asset at the point and a significant addition of energy.

“Nikki’s been a real spark,” Biggs said. “She’s real aggressive out there. She probably drives to the basket harder than anyone else on the team.”

The team has stepped its game up in ACC play, and even though it hasn’t won one of them yet, the games have been extremely close.

“In ACC play, we have picked it up tremendously,” Davis said. “We don’t take moral victories. We played Duke and Maryland close. All of these teams we have played close, but we want to win. Point-blank. Period …

“We’re never satisfied. We feel strong enough as a team that on any given night we can pull off some upsets or knock off top-ranked teams.”

Davis sees a great future for the team as well, not limited to this year.

“One of our favorite mottos is ‘climbing up ladders and cutting down nets.’ Our goal is to make it to the post-season and tournament. Once we have our foot in the door, it is all about being able to go out, play and bring home championships.”

The first half of her journey is complete. The second part is just beginning.

“I am able to have fun, get hyped before games, love doing what I am doing, and love being a Hokie.”

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February 13, 2009 - Posted by | College Basketball | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Knowing nikki all my life she has always had the drive excel in everything she was involved with. She is diffently the most dedicated and determined athlete i have ever met. Im so very proud to call you my sister. we love you so much.

    Comment by Whitney Davis | August 10, 2009 | Reply


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