As he makes history in high school, Stepinac's R.J. Davis eyeing starring role at North Carolina | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / February 24.
  • As he makes history in high school, Stepinac’s R.J. Davis eyeing starring role at North Carolina

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    By ARDEN FRANKLYN JR.

    WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – If there’s anything that can be said about R.J. Davis, it’s that he hasn’t changed much.

    Despite his incredible rise from unranked recruit to a four-star point guard who is committed to the University of North Carolina, the White Plains native has maintained the same focus and humbleness which got him here in the first place.

    “I’m going to bring a lot of energy and scoring ability to UNC and its conference next season,” Davis said after putting up 22 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists as Archbishop Stepinac, ranked No. 15 nationally by USA Today, beat rival Iona Prep 62-54 in the Crusader Classic at a sold-out Westchester County Center.

    Davis now has 2,043 points and is 67 points away from breaking Westchester County’s all-time scoring record of 2,119. set by former Woodlands and Hackley star Danya Abrams, per LoHud.com.

    Before the game, Davis was honored for becoming just the fifth player in Westchester County history to score 2,000 points — something he accomplished last month.

    But even with this kind of success, Davis hasn’t lost perspective of what this season is about. Besides trying to leading the Crusaders to another State Federation Championship, he wants to lay down a lot of groundwork for his pending college career.

    “I’ve been watching North Carolina closely and just imagining how and when I can help.” Davis said of the depleted Tar Heels, who are now without Anthony Harris (ACL) for the season and Cole Anthony (knee) for several weeks. “I love how much they play up-tempo and allow their point guards to be the coach on the floor. It also motivates me to know how many great players are in the ACC. There is a good mix of young players and veterans, who will challenge you and try to take your spot.”

    Such competitive circumstances aren’t new to Davis. He has played on the Nike AAU circuit with the NY Rens alongside Patrick School star Jonathan Kuminga, the No. 1 junior in the nation, and also in the ultra-competitive New York City Catholic League.

    But when it’s all said and done, the UNC commit knows what it is in store, next season.

    “It’s going to be insane since everything is 10 times bigger in our conference, especially when facing Duke,” Davis said. “I’m watching it on TV and just realizing the difference, those crowds and gyms can make.”

    A.J. Griffin, the Stepinac junior star who left the game with a knee injury in the fourth quarter, is committed to Duke for 2021 and the two teammates will battle it out on Tobacco Road beginning then.

    “I can’t wait,” Davis said. “It’s going to be one heck of a battle and it will be like old times at that point.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.