PREP BASKETBALL: Davis signs with Arkansas

By: Chip Souza
Published: Thursday, November 15, 2018
Springdale guard Marquesha Davis (right) signs a National Letter of Intent Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, to play basketball for Arkansas during a signing ceremony inside Bulldog Arena in Springdale.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Springdale guard Marquesha Davis (right) signs a National Letter of Intent Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, to play basketball for Arkansas during a signing ceremony inside Bulldog Arena in Springdale.

SPRINGDALE -- Marquesha Davis wanted to play college basketball close to home, and University of Arkansas women's coach Mike Neighbors is glad she did.

Davis, a 6-foot senior at Springdale High, signed a national letter of intent on Wednesday at Bulldog Gym. Wednesday was the first day of the fall signing period.

"I have a lot of family here and a lot of community support here, so that's what made Arkansas special to me and why I wanted to play there," Davis said.

Davis is one of four signees Wednesday to sign letters of intent for Neighbors' program, bumping the class to No. 15 nationally and No. 4 in the SEC by All-Star Girls Report, a national scouting service.

"Signing day is a special day for every student-athlete and 'the village' who helped them achieve what it takes to earn a Division I scholarship," Neighbors said in a news release. "We welcome these four freshmen, one transfer and their villages to our Razorback family. Each student-athlete was selected for her unique basketball talents on the court and specific character qualities off the court."

Davis brings a strong game to the Arkansas program after averaging a 7A-West Conference-best 21 points and 10.2 rebounds per game for a 20-10 team last season as a junior.

The combo guard was a first team member on the All-Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Division I team and a two-time Class 7A All-State selection.

"This is a big day for our program to have somebody become a Lady Razorback," Springdale coach Heather Hunsucker said. "It's a special day because not only is Marquesha a big-time talent, but she is a great person. Coach Neighbors is getting a player who will be an asset to his program on and off the court."

Davis, who moved to Springdale from McGehee as an eighth-grader, has scored more than 1,000 career points as a Lady Bulldog and last season established school records for points and rebounds in a season.

As a junior, Davis was the leading scorer in the 7A-West Conference, averaging 21 points per game to go along with 10.2 rebounds and 25 blocked shots.

Davis said she felt a comfort with the Arkansas coaches and her style of game was a fit for what Neighbors plays, more up-tempo.

"It just felt like the right place for me and the way the coaches said they would use me," Davis said.

She also visited Kentucky, but Arkansas was always the school others were measured against, Hunsucker said.

Davis has been a starter the past two seasons but actually made her varsity debut as a ninth grader when Hucksucker called her up after Davis led George Junior High to the regional championship.

"She played in the regional championship game on Saturday, and in the Class 7A state tournament on Thursday," Hunsucker said. "We had a couple of injuries on the varsity and we knew we were going to be short-handed, so as soon as her junior high season ended, he brought her up and she actually played some minutes in the state tournament."

Davis said she has bonded with several of the new Arkansas signees already and she would be actively recruiting other Arkansas preps players in the 2020 class to join her at Arkansas.

"I think once I get there and know more about Arkansas, I will be able to help with that," she said.

As if conference coaches did not already stay up late at night trying to figure out ways to defend Davis, she has been working on her perimeter shooting extensively since last season. She is widely regarded as one of the top slashing guards in the country, using her speed and length to get to the basket. Adding more range to her shot will make her doubly hard to defend, Hunsucker said.

"She's worked extremely hard on that over the summer and you're going to see her put up a lot more 3s this season," Hunsucker said. "When you add that dimension to the skill set she already has and her ability to get to the rim and draw fouls, then you are going to see why so many programs around the country wanted her. Arkansas is getting a player who can compete with anyone she matches up against in the SEC."

Davis, who is the first Springdale women's player to sign with a Power 5 school since the early 2000s when Krista Sanchez signed with Oklahoma, will be a June enrollee at Arkansas, Hunsucker said.

Sports on 11/15/2018

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