Junior Basketball Forward Jonathan Davis is familiar with humble beginnings. The middle of five children, he was homeschooled before attending Class AA Peaster High School as a freshman. Davis graduated from Argyle [Texas] High School, where he was a 2015 all-state selection.
A self-described loyal Texan, Davis comes from a Baylor family. His mother Jill and two older brothers—twins Josh and Caleb—all graduated from Baylor, and his younger brother David is a Baylor freshman. He estimates 20 non-immediate family members graduated from Baylor. Even his father Brad, a University of North Texas graduate, claims Baylor as home.
Nonetheless, it was not a slam dunk for Davis to attend Baylor.
“My select team in high school was very good, but we were fundamental,” he said. “We didn’t have a whole lot of big names. We didn’t get a lot of attention.”
Davis was not heavily recruited. He received a handful of scholarship offers from Division III schools such as Trinity University in San Antonio.
“I really wanted college to be the next level; I really wanted to play Division I,” Davis said. “I played my senior year, and it was like, ‘God, where am I going after this?’”
Despite no scholarship offer on the table and an uncertainty as to whether he would ever again play basketball, Davis believed Baylor was the place God had in store for him. He arrived in Waco during the summer of 2015 and immediately began serving as a manager for the men’s basketball team.
Davis fully embraced the role, seeing it as a way to impact other’s lives. The position also allowed him to stay connected to basketball, and he routinely participated in open-gym games with members of the team.
“I was really ready to accept that role for the eternal kingdom,” Davis said.
However, God had other plans. Shortly before the beginning of the 2015-16 season, then-Baylor assistant coach Grant McCasland told Davis that he would be added to the roster.
“He’s humble and hard-working with a servant attitude and great character,” head coach Scott Drew said of Davis. “He always puts the team ahead of himself and is willing to do whatever you need him to do in his role.”
Davis admits to being a bit starry-eyed at first. Two years later, though, he sees himself as simply a member of the team.
“It’s definitely taken time,” he said. “That’s a conscious thing; I have to come to practice with the belief that I’m good enough to play here, but that doesn’t mean I can go at it casually. I have to work at it probably harder than anyone else.”
“I’ve loved Baylor’s support for me personally as a Christian.”
Davis did not dress for any games as a freshman, participating solely on the practice squad. He saw action in 12 games a sophomore and scored 16 points in 23 minutes.
“He doesn’t get the playing time he would get at other schools, but he’s very capable,” junior guard Jake Lindsey said. “When he does get on the court, he averages about 1,000 points per 40 minutes. I have a lot of respect for the way he carries himself on and off the court. He’s a really great player and person for our program.”
Lindsey said Davis regularly organizes team activities away from basketball, helping to bring teammates closer together and closer to Christ.
King McClure, also junior guard, has a history with Davis even before Baylor. It was McClure’s Triple A Academy team that defeated Davis’ Argyle squad in the 2015 Texas Region II quarterfinals, ending Davis’ high school career.
“He works his tail off,” McClure said. “He is here every day, putting up extra shots, getting in extra lifts. He doesn’t get the playing time, but he has a great attitude. He’s a ‘glue guy’ in a way.”
Davis’ dedication and sacrifice was rewarded last season when he was awarded a scholarship for the spring 2016 semester.
While Davis was familiar with the University long before attending, he said Baylor—basketball aside—is been a perfect fit for him.
“I’ve loved Baylor’s support for me personally as a Christian,” he said. “I love that I can talk with professors and they support you bringing up a faith-based conversation in class. That is a unique thing about Baylor.”
A business finance major, Davis recently was accepted into the Hodges Capital Fund portfolio practicum. He appreciates the education he receives in a Christian environment, in particular the practical and financial perspective from Dr. Shane Underwood, associate professor of finance, insurance and real estate.
“He puts it all together,” Davis said. “It has been beneficial for me learning from real-life experience from really good professors.”
Davis said he often takes time to reflect on his journey thus far at Baylor—from manager to walk-on to scholarship recipient.
“It’s an incredible journey,” Davis said. “I’m so thankful for my story.”