Whitewater's Davis transforms himself and his team - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Whitewater's Davis transforms himself and his team

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WHITEWATER (WKOW) -- Chris Davis knows better than most what one bad decision can do.

On the basketball court, one bad pass can be a costly turnover. Off the basketball court, the stakes are even higher.

Davis is the anchor of this Whitewater team; at 6-foot-6, the Warhawks' big man averages nearly 24 points and 8 rebounds a game, the best in the WIAC in both categories.

"I have confidence, I love to score, I love to play basketball... That's my passion," said Davis.

It's a passion Davis lost sight of his sophomore year at Madison East High School, when he got caught up in the wrong crowd and stopped going to school.

"A lot of people said I was going to be a mess-up, my life was going the wrong way, I was wasting my talent... Which you sit and think about it, I was."

Davis returned to school -- and the basketball court -- better than before. He led East in scoring his senior season and graduated with honors, thanks in large part to his love of the game.

"If I didn't have sports, I probably would have been in a bad situation right now. Sports got me away from all that and I'm doing good," says Davis.

After high school, Davis played two years at MATC, but he got in a fight with one of his teammates and was kicked off the team. That's when Whitewater head coach Pat Miller decided to give Davis another chance with the Warhawks.

"Some people said, 'You don't want to touch this kid. He's not going to work for you, he's not going to listen...' And none of those things were true. I think he understands the path he was headed down and where that could have led him, and he made a decision he wasn't going to go down that path," said Miller.

Davis wasn't going to let others go down that path, either. In the year between attending MATC and Whitewater, Davis coached at Madison East and mentored several players.

"I told them, 'I've been in that situation and you need to get away from it.' I'd talk to their teachers as a freshman coach and try to help get them on the right path," said Davis.

A remarkable turnaround, sparked by a daily decision to take a shot at redemption.

"I made mistakes but I can still show that I'm a good kid and got over all that and I'm on top now, pretty much," said Davis.

And to keep No. 23 on track -- words of wisdom from the No. 23, Michael Jordan, tattooed on Davis' arm: "I've failed over and over in my life, and that's why I succeed."

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