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WM Speaking of Sports: Jack Davidson

Head basketball coach Kyle Brumett first spotted Jack Davidson ’22 eight years ago when he was in a junior varsity game at Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Indiana. Davidson was a sophomore at the time—maybe 5-foot-5 and 95 pounds according to Brumett—but had things going for him: confidence and a high skill level. 

“The more we watched him, the more we could tell how much of a part he played in them winning,” Brumett says. “We knew he was a hard worker. We knew his skill set. We knew basketball was important to him. No one could have predicted how driven he is.” 

Davidson and teammates after the NCAC Championship gameIndeed, Davidson’s drive led to a remarkable athletic career at Wabash. The 2022 basketball season that he, his teammates, and coaches produced will be forever etched in the institutional memory of this College. 

“He’s the best ever,” says Brumett. “That’s the perspective. I think he’s the best Division III player ever.” 

The Little Giants have won 84 games since Davidson first set foot on campus, including a school-record 28 wins in 2021–22, to go with the program’s first-ever NCAC regular season and postseason championships, an NCAA Tournament berth, and a run to the Division III finals. 

He was named the Jostens Trophy Award winner for Most Outstanding NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Player. He’s a two-time All-American, a two-time conference player of the year, an NCAA record holder, and a three-time Academic All-American. 

He’s the Wabash all-time leading scorer, with 2,464 career points, and holds the career records for scoring average (22.4 ppg), field goal attempts (1,468), free throws made (718) and attempts (822), and games played and starts (110). In many of those categories he’s the single-season school record holder as well. In 2021–22, Davidson scored more points than any other Division III player (817) and is the NCAA all-divisions record holder for most consecutive free throws made (95). 

Associate Head Coach Patrick Sullivan and teammate Ahmoni Jones ’23 see Davidson’s drive in his analysis while watching NBA or other college games, where he focuses on certain plays, actions, or ways to attack defenses. 

“It blows my mind how he can read a game,” says Jones. “He literally reminds me of Stephen Curry.” 

In studying film on upcoming opponents, he anticipates what the defense will try and take away, and what the counter might be offensively. Then he peppers Sullivan with questions to prepare for opponents, and practices the shots he’s likely to get in the games. 

“He’s in the gym all the time,” Sullivan says. “He shoots so many more shots than most guys. There isn’t any shot you see in a game that he hasn’t already practiced.” 

His shooting statistics reflect that. Davidson is a 50–40–90 player—one who shoots better than 50% from the field, 40% from three-point range, and 90% from the free throw line—a rarity on any level. This season, Jack connected on 53%, 48%, and 91%, respectively. 

“If you put in the work, you’ll get the results,” Jones says. “Jack is a walking example of that.” 

Davidson’s work ethic has rubbed off on his teammates. “Every time he would go to the gym, he would ask if I wanted to go,” says Kellen Schreiber ’22. “He would come up to me after games and help me on things that he knew would make me better.” 

Davidson’s drive follows him off the court as well. 

Professor of Education Studies Michele Pittard saw it early in her fall 2017 freshman tutorial, The “American” Family, where Davidson’s hard work, preparation, engagement, and focus were just as evident within the walls of a Wabash classroom. 

“Students respected him,” she says of the economics major with a 3.68 GPA. “In a good way, his classmates sort of expected Jack would be the one ready to contribute to discussions.” 

The balance it takes to be an accomplished student and athlete is what impressed Pittard, herself a parent of three former collegiate athletes. 

“I never got the sense early on how important basketball was to him,” she starts, “and I mean that as a compliment. He came well prepared and engaged every time. He took things seriously. Once I realized how good he was, his success didn’t surprise me because I see the commitment, the hard work he’s put in.” 

“Being consistent with your work is the most important part,” Davidson explains. “Repetition helps a ton. You can put in the work, but you have to put in the right work, and that’s something I take into every class and every game. 

“Failure scares me,” Davidson says. “It’s not just on the court; you have to carry that over to all aspects of life. I try to be passionate about the things I do.” 

Jones, Schreiber, and his other three roommates from the team laugh about his competitive drive even in their townhouse on campus. 

“His competitive nature is not limited to the basketball court,” says Jack Hegwood ’22. “Whether we’re messing around in the gym after practice or at home playing NCAA Football on the PlayStation, his desire to win and be the best at anything he does is very evident.” 

In a season that included a 24-game win streak and plenty to be excited about, Davidson knows it’s the relationships with his roommates and other teammates that are important. 

“You dream of being a part of teams like this,” he says. “The run was amazing, but the moments we spent together off the court, the bus trips, the hotel rooms, just hanging out. It all felt so seamless. Achieving what we did together was awesome. 

“None of this would have been possible without my teammates and coaches,” he continues. “Without team success, there is no individual success. To see it pay off in this way is unbelievable.” 

“He’s the best ever,” says Brumett. “That’s the perspective. I think he’s the best Division III player ever.”