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Purdue recruit plays final games in hometown

Davis

– Rapheal Davis knew this day would come, when he would playing his final organized basketball games in his hometown of Fort Wayne. The 6-foot-6 forward may not have pictured it coming before his senior year of high school.

But since announcing his transfer from South Side to La Lumiere, a prep school in LaPorte, that’s what the Purdue men’s basketball recruit is facing at the GRBA National Championships this weekend at Spiece Fieldhouse.

Soon after Davis wraps up playing today for the D3 Pride AAU basketball team in the tournament, he will report to La Lumiere to attend and play basketball at the non- IHSAA school.

“It felt really good to come out here and play in front of my city for the last time before I go off to school,” Davis said after D3 Pride beat Mac Irvin Fire 77-76 Saturday.

Davis said his decision to leave South Side after playing three years with the Archers was a “tough” one, but a choice he made to better himself in the classroom and on the court before he enters Purdue in 2012.

“It was about getting ready for the next level, classroom work, study habits and being without with my parents,” Davis said. “By leaving early (for college life), I am already a step ahead of most people going to college. I will already be in the atmosphere and playing the top competition there. One year ahead, and then I will go to Purdue ready.

“It was a real tough decision. I love South Side and my friends back here. It was one of those decisions you have to make to be successful for the next step.”

Davis was All-SAC first team for three years and averaged 28.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists last season for the Archers. He scored a school-record 53 points in a game last year against Northrop.

La Lumiere coach Alan Huss will be Davis’ fourth head coach in four years, having Ryan Bond, Gregg Taylor and Mike Novell previously at South Side.

Davis, who started playing with D3 Pride last week, will join fellow Purdue recruit Jay Simpson at La Lumiere.

Simpson had a hand in convincing Davis to play for the prep school.

“(Simpson) had been talking to me about it for a long time,” Davis said.

“He was wanting to get me up there, and he was trying to convince me to go with him just to get the chemistry down so we can learn each other’s habits and personality and stuff like that.”

In an earlier phone interview, Simpson admitted to calling and texting Davis to follow him to La Porte.

“Every day; I think I annoyed him,” Simpson said with a laugh about the communication. “We’ll be going to college already knowing each other’s game and how each other is. It’ll be good for us. (Davis) played in a shootout with us in Merrillville, too. It was fun. That dude, he can score on anybody. It was a lot of fun.”

gjones@jg.net

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