Why 5-star Alabama signee JD Davison's improved 3-pointer is key to Calhoun's title defense
The game's result was all but decided, yet the stands in Calhoun's gymnasium were still at capacity. The Tigers were amid a 102-57 blowout playoff win against Isabella when JD Davison crossed half-court and fans fished phones out of pockets.
Davison squared his defender, released a 3-pointer and turned around. He was running back toward his own net as the ball swished. The crowd erupted, celebrating in real time the evolution of Davison as a scorer.
The Alabama signee is averaging 34.8 points per game, shooting more threes than he has previously. About a fifth of his shots come from deep, attempting and making the most on Calhoun's roster (33 for 98).
While his two-pointer percentage is far better (67%), Davison's development has far-reaching effects in the Tigers' (15-7, 4-1 Area 5) quest to repeat in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs.
"I'm not gonna tell anyone he's a great 3-point shooter now," Calhoun coach Ervin Starr said, "But I will say he is a great shot-maker."
The shot Davison is most-known for — a step-back 3 over Barbour County in the 2020 title game — was hailed as a "miracle," Starr said. But those around the program knew it wasn't. Davison had dedicated months to that same motion: Jab, gather, jump.
Now the basketball world was seeing it pay off.
From the sidelines in Birmingham, Starr knew Davison created the exact opportunity he had planned for. The next day, Davison demonstrated the move in the gym. He's kept the step-back in his arsenal this year, hitting the final bucket in regulation of an eventual double-overtime win against Greenville on Jan. 2.
In some contests this year, Davison has shot a few early deep 3s to space out the defense. It doesn't matter if he makes them or not. Starr said Davison has hit five of his first six at times and later go on cold stretches, just like any shooter.
But unlike other scorers, Davison can blow by wings if they press high.
Since eighth grade, Davison has been a guard who can find shots for others. But coaches and Davison realized that an added dimension was needed. Calhoun's coaching staff told Davison this offseason to improve his jumper. Starr noticed that by season's end, the constant double-teams and blitzes wore Davison down.
With Calhoun's team depth exceeding last year's, Davison is able to operate in a system that compliments his strengths and allows him to work on the next layer to his game.
"He can shoot it from anywhere from the second he steps across half court," senior teammate Joshua Curtis said.