Bellwood graduate will play professionally in Germany
Nathan Davis achieved record-setting performances as a high school basketball player at Bellwood-Antis and as an NCAA Division II collegiate player at Seton Hill University in Greensburg.
The next stop for Davis will be the fulfillment of a dream, as he embarks on a professional basketball career in Germany this fall.
Davis, a 2016 Bellwood graduate and 2020 Seton Hill graduate, has signed a one-year contract to play professionally for the Citybasket Recklinghausen Basketball Club in the Western Division of the Regionalliga league in Germany in the 2020-21 season.
“I’m very excited and grateful for this opportunity,” said the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Davis, a four-year starter at guard for Seton Hill who finished his collegiate career as the second-leading scorer in school history with 1,712 points, and who holds the school record for career 3-pointers with 254. “It’s been my lifelong dream to play at a professional level.
“I just have a love for the game, and that has been able to keep me going at all levels through high school and college, and now, after college, starting as a professional.”
Davis is scheduled to fly to Recklinghausen — a city whose population is comparable to that of Erie — in the middle of August to report for the 2020-21 season, which will begin in late September or early October. The regular season finishes in late April or early May, with playoffs to follow if the team qualifies.
With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc throughout the world, Davis realizes that the prospect of international travel is very dicey now, but he’s hoping for the best.
“Yeah, (it’s) definitely (a challenge),” Davis, 22, said of the pandemic. “It is strange, but I think that everybody is in the same position, no matter what their line of work is. There’s just a lot of uncertainty about international flights at this point.
“I just have to keep my ears open, and stay in touch with my agent and the team itself, to see if there is an opening next month in which I can fly over,” said Davis, who is currently playing in the Central Blair Recreation Commission’s Lakemont Park Summer Basketball League for the Division I Superior Detailing and Accessories team. “I’m hoping to know about (flight availability) by the end of July, but at the end of the day, that’s something that’s not in my control. All I’m doing is staying ready, praying, and staying hopeful that it will work out the way that it’s supposed to work out.”
A two-week quarantine would follow for anybody taking any flight overseas, Davis said.
“I hope that this (pandemic) can be brought under control soon so that we can all return back to a normal life, but obviously, we’ve got to keep on listening to health experts so that we can all stay safe,” Davis said.
The opportunity for Davis to play in Germany opened up after Davis was contacted by a sports agent, Shamsiddin Little, last November. Little, a Saint Francis University graduate who earned a law degree from Penn State and lives in New Jersey, began working earnestly with Davis about all the logistics this past March, following the conclusion of Seton Hill’s basketball season.
“I wanted to adhere to NCAA regulations, so I didn’t have too much contact with him until the middle of March,” Davis said. “He went to Saint Francis, and I think he heard about me from talking with a couple of local people. I’m really thankful that I’ve been able to work with him. He’s been a big part of helping this dream to come true.”
There are seven levels of basketball competition in Germany, with the Regionalliga considered the fourth level of competition. Davis is hoping that he can play well enough in his first year to earn a multi-year contract and move up a level or more.
“This first (contract) is just a one-year deal,” said Davis, who is still Bellwood-Antis’ all-time leading boys basketball scorer with 2,049 points. “My goal is hopefully to play well enough to be able to either get my contract renewed, or possibly move up to a higher division, either in Germany or in a different country.”
Davis has learned that the level of competition in the Regionalliga is very good.
“From what I’ve heard from my agent, and from doing research myself on the league, and on this (Recklinghausen) team itself, this league has some really good players,” Davis said. “There are former Division I college players who play in this league. The game of basketball overall is really respected in Germany, so (the country) has always had a good reputation as far as basketball competition is concerned.”
Along with being an excellent shooter, scorer, defender, and rebounder, Davis exhibited durability as a player at Seton Hill, which competes in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference’s West Division in basketball. Davis missed only two of 109 games in his four-year career with the Griffins because of injury.
Seton Hill men’s basketball coach Kendrick Saunders said that Davis – who graduated with a 3.97 grade-point average as a Spanish major with an education certification – checks all the boxes as a high-character student-athlete.
“As far as basketball is concerned, he’s a great worker and a tremendous scorer,” Saunders said of Davis, a Seton Hill team captain who earned a selection to the All-PSAC Second Team in both his junior and senior seasons. “He can really score the basketball from all three positions on the floor — 3-point range, mid-range, and around the rim. Her puts a lot of time into his craft, and that’s what makes him good.”
The intangibles that Davis brought to the table for the Seton Hill program were just as important, Saunders believed.
“He comes from a great family, and he’s such a strong-character young man who obviously has a very strong faith,” Saunders added. “He was a phenomenal leader here, and a phenomenal teammate. He was a great kid to be around, and he was just a tremendous joy to coach.”
Those are all personal and professional assets that Davis will take with him to Germany for the benefit of the Recklinghausen club.
“Obviously, I want to have a good experience, and to try to help this team that has given me this opportunity win as many games as possible,” Davis said. “Then I want to just continue to grow as a player myself.
“I think this will be a great learning experience in which my game can expand and grow a lot,” Davis said.”I’m hoping to do that, and to have success.”