Davis signed with Division 1 program Youngstown (Ohio) State last month. The Penguins play in the Horizon League, one of the most respected mid-major conferences in America. The most accomplished school in the conference is Wisconsin Green Bay, who is an annual competitor in the NCAA Women’s Tournament.
Youngstown, on the other hand, is a program on the upswing. The Penguins finished with an 0-30 record the year before head coach Bob Bolden arrived on campus and in two years, he’s helped lift that win total to 10, which they achieved last season.
“The coaches just got there, so they’re still building a program,” Davis said, who was assured she would get an opportunity to play as a freshman.
Davis joins fellow Bucs Alex Law and Kaeding Skelton who have signed to play college basketball. Law will play at Findlay (Ohio), while Skelton has signed at Lake Erie (Ohio). Both are Division 2 schools.
Davis was drawn to Youngstown initially because she is originally from Ohio and still has family living there. Her one visit to the campus that is a hop, skip and a jump away from the Pennsylvania border helped assure Davis that it was the right fit.
“I really liked the coaches and I liked the offense,” she said. “Plus, I got along really well with the players. It was similar to all the Grand Haven girls.”
Bolden’s returning roster doesn’t feature much height – only three players that are 5-foot-10 inches or taller – but the Penguins attack with the 3-point shot. They had five players shoot over 30 percent from 3-point range, while a pair connected on over 40 percent from deep.
“It’s a very up-tempo style and it’s a lot of run ‘n gun,” Davis said. “And everyone shoots threes.”
Bolden said he is excited to add Davis’ playmaking ability to his roster.
“Shar’Rae is a dynamic point guard who is a proven winner,” Boldon said in a released statement. “She was an important part of a state championship team that competed among the biggest schools in the state. She does a great job controlling the game. She is able to get other players involved, but she understands the game well enough to know when she must score herself.”
Davis, who stands 5-8, earned first-team all-state honors in Class A as both a junior and senior. During her senior season, she averaged 9.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Her 142 assists set the Bucs’ single-season record.
Grand Haven coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer said Davis could have easily averaged in double figures in scoring, but relished the chance at setting up her teammates for scoring opportunities instead.
“She was one of the best point guards in the state,” Kowalcyzk-Fulmer said. “She has that ability to make the players around her better. She has a high basketball IQ, and she’s able to step up her game offensively and complete those tough drives to the rim.”
Davis’ most memorable tough drive to the rim came in the closing seconds of the Bucs’ Class A state championship game against Grosse Pointe South. Davis drove coast-to-coast and made the winning layup with nine seconds left, helping the Bucs erase an earlier 18-point deficit.
Davis said she also strongly considered Wayne State and had offers as far away as Colorado State and San Diego State.
Davis said she wasn’t necessarily focused on primarily going Division 1, but rather was in search of the right fit.
“My main goal was just to get a full-ride somewhere,” she said. “I had a couple Division 1 schools offer me and I turned them down because I just didn’t see myself going there.”
Davis, the daughter of Terry Foster and Tavina Davis, has an athletic background in her family. Her father was a standout defensive back at Grand Valley State and played on the Lakers’ squad that reached the program’s first Division 2 national championship game.
Davis plans to major in Exercise Science at Youngstown in hopes of becoming a physical therapist. Tuesday, she was in the airport, awaiting a flight to Guatemala with a youth group through her church, Life Stream in Allendale.
“We’re going down there for a week. We’re going to help build houses for families,” she said.