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Morgan Park's Kyle Davis moves the ball past Bogan's LuWane Pipkins. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
If high school basketball is mostly dominated by guards, chemistry is an invaluable resource.
Kyle Davis appeared to walk into a less than enviable situation.
The senior guard transferred to Morgan Park from Hyde Park last spring, knowing the Mustangs had two perennials locked up in the backcourt in DePaul recruit Billy Garrett Jr. and Markee Williams.
“It was a difficult transition at first,” Davis admitted.
Davis knew most of the players and had played with Garrett Jr. and other key members of the team through the Mac Irvin Fire club team. Still, high school basketball is structured with players assigned specific roles.
Rather than complicate matters or ruffle feathers, Davis has solidified the disparate parts and turned the No. 2 Mustangs into a powerhouse.
“He’s the kind of kid who’s an easy fit,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. “It was not that big of a transition for him because he’s a great kid, a great student as well being a good basketball player. He’s the one that has brought us together, the who calls the meetings, the one with Billy [Garrett] that really pulls us together.”
Davis has been the lynch pin of a 25-2 power. He was named first-team at the Proviso West Holiday tournament, where he led the Mustangs to the tournament title. Since the start of the Public League city playoffs, Davis has been on fire.
He scored 77 points, averaging just under 26 points a game, as the Mustangs went 3-0 last week to qualify for the city Final Four. He poured in a career-high 42 points last Thursday against Lane. In a quarterfinal matchup with No. 11 Curie, Davis scored 14 points and made two key steals and four free throws in an 11-0 run that turned a four-point second-half deficit into a seven-point lead.
For his accomplishments, Davis is the Sun-Times Athlete of the Week.
Davis had his own history as well. “When I was a freshman at Hyde Park, I played against Wayne Blackshear, Billy and Markee in the city finals,” he said.
He quickly assimilated his skills into the fabric of the team.
“The other players, they welcomed me with open arms, and made me feel a part of the team, a part of the family,’’ Davis said. ‘‘Our games feed off each other, too. I came here knowing Billy was the scoring guard, and Markee was the point guard.
“Billy can drive and kick and find the open shooter, and Markee’s a great point guard. Nick really helped me as far as adjusting and changing my game to the needs of the team. It was important that I be able to play off and with the other players.”
At 6-1 with tremendous leaping ability, Davis is the pure athlete of the Mustangs’ three-guard attack.
“My strength is attacking the basket,” he said. “That’s where I thrive.”
Despite his lithe frame, he’s very good at finishing at the basket. His ball-hawking, quick hands and aggressive defensive instincts make him an elite defender.
Davis signed with Dayton, but also received strong interest from Illinois, Xavier and Butler. “I liked their style of play,” he said about the Flyers.
The Mustangs meet top-ranked Simeon Wednesday, in a rematch against the team that administered their only in-state defeat. The top-seed in the Class 3A St. Laurence sectional, Morgan Park is the favorite to win its first state title since 1976.
“When I transferred from to Morgan Park, I suddenly had a lot more players,” he said. “I have a lot of options now. Coming here has been great, because I’ve gotten a lot of exposure and played against a lot of new teams or teams I’d never played against before.”