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RICHBURG – He grew up in Denmark, South Carolina and now lives in the Charlotte area, but when he first visited Lewisville High School, Larry Davis said he felt right at home.
“Life goes around in a circle,” Davis said. “I started in a Class A League school. When I walked in the gym it reminded me of my high school gym.”
Davis is the Lions’ new basketball coach, succeeding Tony Busy, who recently announced his resignation due to conflicts with his job.
It was actually Busby who helped bring Davis to Lewisville. The two played against one another in high school when Busby was at Edisto and Davis was at Denmark-Olar.
Davis said the two ran into each other recently through a mutual friend. Busby mentioned that he may be leaving his post at Lewisville and inquired as to whether Davis might be interested in the position.
“Coaching has always been in me. I love teaching the game,” Davis said.
Davis has served as a head coach at the middle school level and has been an assistant coach at several schools. Davis had been doing mental health work for about 10 years, but decided to pursue basketball coaching full-time.
That’s no surprise, given the influence that his coaches had on him during his playing days. Among his mentors were legendary UNC coach Dean Smith and former University of South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler.
“I’ve had some great teachers in my lifetime,” Davis said.
That certainly showed on the court.
Davis was actually surprised to hear that his state record for points in a season (1,162) still stood.
He said he assumed that former Chester High standout Devan Downey, also a former USC Gamecocks star, had topped the mark.
He also remains in first place, 20 years after graduating, in 30-point games in a season, 40-point games in a season and free throws made in a season. He won a national title at UNC and an SEC title after transferring to play his last two years as a Gamecock.
It takes more than just assembled talent to win at a high level, Davis said.
He added it also takes hard work, everyone keeping themselves in top shape and overall team chemistry. Those are things he hopes to instill in Lions players.
Given the fact that he played guard and was a prolific scorer, one might assume that he puts a premium on scoring lots of points.
In fact, Davis said he stresses defense above all else. The overall style of play in the coming season will largely depend on his players.
“I’ll kind of look and see the strength of the team and see what pieces we have to put on the floor. But I do want us to be a tough-minded defensive team,” Davis said.
Davis knows the region slate will be tough, with defending state champion Great Falls High on the Lions’ schedule twice. Basically, though, he wants he players to have fun and use each game as a building block.