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Detroit Mercy’s Antoine Davis climbs NCAA leaderboard with quiet confidence

With over 3,100 career points, the Detroit Mercy star ranks seventh on the NCAA Division I men’s hoops all-time scoring list.

NCAA Basketball: Detroit at Cincinnati
Antoine Davis has netted 492 3-pointers, the third most in NCAA history. He is on pace to break the national record later this month.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

When Antoine Davis walks into a room, one may not notice him. He’s shy. Quiet. Laidback. Reserved. Easy-going. Low-maintenance. He likes to sit back and observe.

But on the basketball court, the Detroit Mercy star is anything but quiet. He can take over any game he plays.

The graduate guard is just one of 11 men’s players in NCAA Division I history to eclipse the 3,000-point marker. He has scored 3,103 points, the seventh-most all time. He is less than 100 points away from breaking into the top five. He is averaging 24.6 points per game over his career.

“He’s a poster child for real hard work,” said Mike Davis, Antoine’s father and head coach at Detroit Mercy. “You know, competing against older, college, pro guys as a junior high and high school kid; ... not having the physical [talent] like everyone else had but still able to have to figure out how to compete; we had a great routine for him.”

The father-son tandem worked tirelessly as Antoine grew up, spending hours upon hours in the gym each day.

At one point, Davis took 5,000 shots a day, six days a week for a total of 30,000 shots every week. One day, he took 10,000 shots. After putting up 5,000 during his regular daily workout, he was restless that night, so he and his father went back to the gym for another 5,000. The elder Davis compared getting all these shots up to a Happy Meal for the sharpshooter.

The Birmingham, Alabama, native’s motivation came from getting cut from his school’s team in middle school.

“It made me realize I’m not as good as I thought I was,” Antoine Davis said. “All I did was just put more work in and put the time in, and I eventually made the team the next year and played really well and just kept working no matter what.”

Around that time, the Davis family relocated to Houston when Mike became the head coach at Texas Southern. The move had a monumental impact on Antoine.

First, he started to be home schooled by his mother. This setup allowed him to dedicate even more time in the gym. His father noted that, during the school year, Antoine made significant strides compared to other kids because he was able to dedicate more time in the gym.

Second, Davis began working and learning under the tutelage of John Lucas II, who played 14 years in the NBA and was also a head coach in the Association. Davis practiced with him in the morning and afternoon. Then, at night, the guard worked out in the gym with his father.

“[John Lucas] had the biggest impact [on my basketball career],” Davis said. “He’s the reason why I started working as hard as I was or I needed to work as hard as I needed to.”

All of this work has paid off for the four-time First-Team All-Horizon League selection. Davis has scored in double figures in an NCAA record 126 consecutive games — every single game he has played.

A lethal shooter, the 6-foot-1-inch guard has drained 492 3-pointers, third most in NCAA history. He sits 17 triples away from Fletcher Magee’s record of 509. Davis is averaging just under four trifectas a game, so he is on pace to break the record later this month.

Syndication: The Enquirer
Antoine Davis is one of two players in history to register 3,000 career points and 500 assists.
Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

In addition to his scoring prowess, Davis demonstrates a willingness to defer to his teammates. He joined Saint Peter’s legend Keydren Clark as the only players with 3,000 points and 500 assists. He currently sits at 521 helpers.

“Antoine’s a great player, great person and an awesome teammate,” said Gerald Liddell, who is in his first season with Detroit Mercy after transferring from Alabama State. “He creates a lot for us as his teammates on the floor. He draws a lot of attention. Every time he has the ball, there are going to be 10 eyes on him. So it’s just about being in the right spots and complementing him.”

One of Davis’ most memorable assists came at Tulsa last month. With the Titans trailing by two in the final minute of the contest, Davis drove to the baseline, drew a double team and instead of forcing a shot, kicked it out to the top of the key to freshman Isaiah Jones for a wide-open go-ahead 3-pointer.

“I love [getting my teammates involved],” Davis said. “It gets them going, and it gets me going as well, even when I’m not scoring. Just having teammates around that know what they’re doing and that trust me to get them the ball or whatever the case may be is just special.”

Davis’ closest ally is his coach/father. Mike said their relationship has greatly improved this season compared to earlier in Antoine’s career. The 62-year-old coach reflected that he was really demanding of his son, and this season, he is letting the graduate guard play more freely and has eased back the reins on Antoine.

To add to the family affair at Detroit Mercy, Antoine’s older brother Mike Jr. is on the coaching staff as an assistant.

As crafty as Davis is scoring the ball, he is equally creative off the court. He has a passion for photography and fashion. He always had a creative side and started taking an interest in them during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some nights Davis stayed up until 3 or 4 a.m. some nights watching photography videos on YouTube to learn new techniques.

Davis started taking photos for his friends after he purchased his first film camera,. As he took more pictures, he saw his talent for it.

Davis envisions that photography and fashion will hold a place in his future once the ball stops bouncing. However, before that day comes, the sharpshooter eyes playing professionally.

“He has no ceiling right now,” Liddell said. “He works like a pro and, as you can see, he produces like a pro. So, wherever he wants to go with this, I feel like that’s where he’s going to take it.”