Mike Davis’s journey to Illinois

Mike Davis has arguably provided the most energy of any Illini on the court for the past few seasons. But the lean junior forward almost never made it past the East Coast after high school. As an Alexanderia, Va., native, Davis almost enrolled in prep school in Connecticut following high school to develop his body and begin the recruiting process with a fresh start.

However, while playing in an AAU tournament following his senior year, Davis said he received a call from then-Illinois assistant coach Tracy Webster.

And after an enjoyable visit to the Champaign-Urbana campus, the rest is history.

Despite averaging just 2.6 points and 1.8 rebounds in his first season as an Illini, Davis is now one of the top big men in the Big Ten as a junior. Last year, he was second-team All-Big Ten selection by coaches, and through Monday he was leading Illinois in both scoring and rebounding this season.

What other schools recruited you?

“Providence, Clemson, Auburn, schools like that. A lot of SEC and ACC schools.”

What influenced you to come to Illinois?

“When I came on a visit, I liked it. Illinois coach (Tracy) Webster recruited me actually; he’s at DePaul now. When I came here it was a loving and caring family atmosphere.”

What were your family’s thoughts?

“My dad came with me up here. We both loved it. My mom came up here also. We all sat down and made a decision that I wanted to come here.”

What did your friends have to say?

“They were just happy that I was going to play (Division I) basketball. They’re just happy that I got the chance to come play in a big-time conference at Illinois.”

Did anybody here bribe you along the way?

“No bribes. No bribes.”