Shamarjah Davis

Shamarjah Davis (3) of Northwest Collegiate and Technical Academy contests a shot by Anthony Shaw of KIPP Pride during the Tar Roanoke 1A Men’s Basketball Tournament in February. Davis, whose eye-popping athletic ability impressed Valley crowds all winter, averaged 10.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game as a freshman.

The photograph, taken during the opening-round of last season’s Tar Roanoke 1A Men’s Basketball Tournament, was LCD-Monitor odd.

It popped, and not for the sake of its metadata — color, via Canon’s nifty-fifty prime, and dated Feb. 17, 2020.

As camera junkies go, not exactly the Holy Grail of glass.

No, it popped because of its subject — Shamarjah Davis of Northwest Collegiate and Technical Academy — contesting a shot by KIPP Pride guard Anthony Shaw.

And by contesting, one could suggest rising.

Or hovering.

Or hovering, with pause, only to rise again.

Or ladder-climbing.

At any rate, you get the idea — that somehow, some way, SD3’s spring was the bouncing inspiration for the opening verse of Bart Howard’s “Fly Me to the Moon.”

His coach, Antonio Richardson, assigned it an airplane emoji on Instagram, hinting at the freshman’s ascent to a proper cruising altitude.

Shortly thereafter, a Northwest fan chimed, “We get 3 more years of my guy (sic),” as if to salt the wounds of area teams who won’t know the joy of Davis suiting up in their colors.

Flight gear, you might say.

If anything, the reaction to his air was proper hoops-community enthusiasm, and proof that Davis — then, and in all likelihood, until he departs the Valley — is very capable of causing a stir.

Numbers and more

Over 18 games last winter, Davis proved capable, averaging 10.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.9 steals per night on 60-39-49 shooting splits — as in, 60% marksmanship on 2-point field goals, 39% from distance and 49% from the free-throw line.

Charity-striping aside, not too shabby a prep beginning.

Then there’s the matter of his defensive capability, which Richardson explained as much-improved following a summer of travel ball.

“He played with Garner Road AAU team,” the coach said of his star. “Watching him on the defensive side, on some of his videos, he’s getting more active on the defensive end, so that’s a good thing — always.”

Only not so much for NCTA foes, who saw Davis — long, quick and with a cast-iron competitive will — frustrate many a player on the wing last season.

Here … and gone?

Perhaps nothing runs in closer step with prodigy than prompting, and to that end, the ever-swirling notion that the Valley’s best hoopers are somehow better off honing their craft in other parts of the state, under the flags of private schools — see also, basketball schools.


Possibly, but certainly not true enough to inform, on a broad basis, the prep career

of every hooper like Davis — talented, yes, but really just developing an identity on the varsity stage.

“I think he’s going to stay here,” Richardson said when addressing the topic. “He watched, you know, coming up, the games when Toyaz (Solomon) and Danyus (Daniels) and them was, you know, having their 25-2 season, he was always here, as an eighth grader … that let me know that we’re building a brotherhood.”

Ah, interpersonal connectivity — a rarity in today’s plugged-in, did-you-hear-that world.

And while said camaraderie might not permanently mute all the will-he-stay or will-he-go dish, it’s refreshing to know Davis is grounded that way — after all, Valley basketball fans surely know he can fly.