Maddox to lead Davie boys

Published 9:29 am Tuesday, November 23, 2021

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By Brian Pitts
Enterprise Record

Davie’s varsity boys basketball team has strung together four winning seasons for the first time since 1998-99 through 2001-02. It has the pieces needed to make it five in 2021-22.
Last year in Mike Absher’s 19th and final year at the helm, the War Eagles went 8-4 and finished third in the Central Piedmont Conference.
“The goal is to compete for a conference championship,” said Bruce Wallace, who has moved up from assistant to head coach. “The fact that we have a chance to do that is awesome, but we could also go .500 in the CPC.”
Za’Haree Maddox sits at the center of everything Davie wants to accomplish. After missing his entire freshman year with a knee injury, he’s been the floor general the past two years. As a sophomore point guard, he was second on the team with a 13.4 scoring average. As a junior, he averaged 15.4, the highest mark in seven years.
He’s a ball-handling wizard. In the open floor, he’s a Porsche when the driver hits the gas. When he drives downhill toward the basket, the defense naturally collapses on him. He either scores with regularity or sees passing lanes. He’s mastered the art of drawing fouls, shooting 20 free throws in one sophomore game. In another sophomore game, he compiled 28 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Last season he attempted at least 14 free throws in four of 12 games, going 47 of 61 (77 percent) in those games. He had a 16-point first quarter. He had a game with 18 points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals.
“If you’re looking at public school point guards, I would say he’s the best in the 336 (area code),” Wallace said. “He’s so quick is why he’s got some Division I interest. He’s lightning quick. If there’s two or three minutes left and they’ve got to come out and guard us, he’s going to go by you and score or make a good pass.”
Maddox’s backcourt mate, Zymere Hudson, is an indispensable senior. Last year he averaged 8.7 points and had one game with 14 points, six rebounds and five steals.
“He was a straight baller on the football field this year (at receiver), and I think that helps us a lot because his confidence is high,” Wallace said. “There have been college coaches who have come to practice and said: ‘Who’s that kid?’ It’s because he runs the floor so well. When he gets out in transition and gets the ball in his right hand, he’s really tough to stop. And he can shoot the ball. I would say he’s our second option because he can create his own offense.”
Senior Jake Powers is known for his 3-point shooting. Although he only averaged 4.7 as a junior, he had three different games with 11. But he can do more than launch from distance.
“Jake can shoot it,” Wallace said. “Sometimes you put your worst defender on shooters because all they do is shoot it. If you put a kid who can’t guard on Jake, he’ll take them to the rim and finish. So he can shoot it and he can finish, and he can play defense and rebound. Like they say in the NBA, he’s a 3-and-D guy for us.”
While post player Blake Walser only averaged three points last year as a reserve, he will play a more prominent role as a senior.
“Blake has been a manchild on the boards in preseason,” he said. “If he can get on the offensive glass like he’s been doing, we’ll be pretty tough to stop. So that’s exciting, too.”
Freshman Jackson Powers, Jake’s brother, has the look of a future stud. He has big potential in football and basketball.
“Jackson is 6-5 and we don’t just grow 6-5 kids on trees in Davie County,” he said. “He shoots it really well. He’s got great touch from the outside, and he’s a good passer. I think playing in the fall league got him prepared (for varsity). Being able to be on the varsity football team for a little bit got him prepared. He’s a very smart young man. I think he’s got a chance to be really good for us and be our next great big man. I’m all-in on Jackson Powers. He’s like Owen (McCormack of Presbyterian). He can step out and shoot it, he can pass it and he’s got quick feet and soft hands. He just knows how to play basketball. Football coaches are going to be recruiting him down the line for sure.”
Tate Carney and Alex Summers have made their names in football, but both are capable difference-makers on the hardwood. Summers, who received a quarterbacking offer from the University of Lynchburg (Va.), is a spot-up shooter and an adept passer. Carney is a versatile player who is headed to Wake Forest as a running back.
“Tate’s a kid you can trust and you know he’s not scared of the moment,” Wallace said. “That’s the big thing with him. Some kids have never been in a big moment before in front of those crowds. Tate’s been there and he’s not going to get nervous and turn the ball over. He knows how to play.
“Alex is a perfect role player because he understands what he’s good at, he knows where to go on the court and he passes the ball well. You know he knows how to make good decisions because of what he did at quarterback. He’ll be a glue guy for us.”
Sophomore Coleman Lawhon and freshman Landon King should blossom into special players in due time.
“I compare Coleman to Brooks Johnson when Brooks was a sophomore,” he said. “He is not going to be scared of big moments because he’s always been that guy. He plays a lot like Brooks, who was good at everything. And Coleman is a good all-around player.
“Landon is going to be a defensive menace for us. He brings a different kind of toughness, athleticism and strength on the defensive end that we need – kind of like a Justice Redmon. If we need a stop, Landon is a guy we can turn to.”
Davie has nine seniors, one junior, three sophomores and two freshmen. Max Junker, Caleb Earnhardt and JT Bumgarner are seniors. Hunter Davis is a junior. Ethan Ratledge and Hayden Williams are sophomores. Wallace’s assistant coaches are Kevin Revels and Shane Nixon.
Williams is a guard who has endured lousy luck. He missed his entire freshman year with a knee injury. He was ready to go as a sophomore before suffering an ankle injury in a preseason workout.
“He had his boot off today (Nov. 17) and said it felt good,” Wallace said. “He should be back around Christmas, maybe before then.”
Last year Reynolds captured the CPC championship with an 8-1 record. Glenn (7-2), Davie (6-4), East Forsyth (5-5), West Forsyth (1-7) and Reagan (0-8) followed. Mt. Tabor and Parkland are new league members. Last year Tabor went 13-3 and advanced to the third round of the playoffs. Parkland, on the other hand, went 0-11.
Tabor is a program rich in history.
“I would put Tabor up there obviously,” Wallace said. “But if East Forsyth has their baseball players (one has committed to Florida, another to Louisville), I think East is the favorite. I don’t know if they’re going to play or not.”
Reynolds may not have enough firepower to win it again, but it did pick up “a 1,300-point scorer from Albemarle who is pretty daggum good,” Wallace said.