By Joseph Santoliquito (@JSantoliquito)
SPRING GARDEN — Da’Kquan Davis embraces struggle.
It seems a part of him, wired into his DNA that he has to bite, claw and scratch for anything he gets. At Roman Catholic, the powerfully built 6-foot-1 guard came off the bench, before finally starting his senior year. Underrecruited, he wound up at Division III Arcadia, where he was a three-time all-conference and two-time D-III All-American—then graduated, and made the rare leap to Division I last season at Albany.
It is typical for Davis, who played significant minutes for the Great Danes last season, including dropping a season-high 32 points in his homecoming against St. Joe’s last November.
Now, for the first time at the insistence of his buddy and fellow former Roman star Tony Carr, Davis finds himself playing in the fabled Danny Rumph Classic.
Roman Catholic product Da'Kquan Davis is teaming with his former teammates at the Rumph Classic. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
Davis is teamed with guys he grew up with, like Carr, and former Haverford School and Penn State star Lamar Stevens, and another Roman alum, Nazeer Bostick.
The nucleus has gotten LOE to the semifinals of the 18th annual Rumph this weekend.
It has also given players like Davis more information about themselves. He finished his high school career at Roman with two Philadelphia Catholic League championships, two PIAA Class 6A state championships and three city championships.
He faced the struggle to start his first two years at Roman, but Davis was invariably on the court when the game mattered most in the waning minutes.
“Tone gave me the call about the Rumph, he’s my guy, we go way back before we even met at Roman, on the AAU scene a little bit growing up,” said Davis, 24, who graduated Arcadia with a degree in sports management and is working on his graduate degree. “Once Tone and I got to Roman, we built a friendship that will last the rest of our lives. I love playing in (the Rumph). It gives me more confidence just knowing people probably underestimate me, or do not know too much about me.
“But that’s the way it’s always been with me. I like to prove people wrong. It forces me to become a better player, and with Tone Carr, and as long as I have guys like Tone and my guys on this team that believe in me, that is all I really need. I know what I can do.”
Davis wants to continue playing as long as he can. He has eyes on Europe, with the possibility of playing in the Czech Republic, North Macedonia, and the United Kingdom.
The Rumph has served as a great barometer of where he sees himself.
“This has helped me a lot, obviously playing against guys that have played high-level Division I basketball, guys that play in the NBA and are former NBA players, or making money overseas,” said Davis, who dropped 18 points in LOE’s 68-47 victory over Blue Magic in the Rumph quarterfinals on Saturday. “For me to get to that level, to come out and play against these guys, it tells me where I am.
“I want to play as long as I can. I love the game. Basketball is what I grew up on, and basketball has taken me to so many places, I could not even imagine. I want to see how many more places it will take me and how far it will take me.”
With his genuine appreciation for the game and his high intellect, there is also something else about Davis that radiates. It is hard to ignore when he talks about his passion for the game and how he sees it.
It’s easy to see Davis one day being a coach.
“I want to play as long as I can, but eventually I would like to get into coaching or training,” Davis said. “I can’t imagine my future not including basketball in some capacity, whether it would be coaching or training. When you have that pure love for the game, and you have the confidence of guys like Tone Carr, you want to keep going.
“This is bigger than basketball for us. We have always been together. The chemistry we have is bigger than basketball.”
When Carr got this LOE team together, one of the first calls he made was to Davis.
“The most important thing is Da’Kquan is my brother,” said Carr, 25, who is weighing his professional options ahead. “He has come such a long way and I’m so proud of his growth. Whenever I get a chance to come back to the city and play with my brothers, Da’Kquan is one of the first guys I call.
“He’s made great progress and to be a witness of that has been great. Our love is unconditional and I’m glad to have a brother like him and to be a part of his growth. Now, we’re in the final four of the Rumph in our first year playing in it.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who began writing for CoBL in 2021 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter here.