Nat­u­ral­ized bas­ket­ball player brings Tai­wan hoop onto the world stage

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

You don’t have to be a hard­core bas­ket­ball fan in Tai­wan to know the name Quincy Davis.

The 203-cen­time­ter bas­ket­ball player has al­most be­come a house­hold name in the is­land where bas­ket­ball is one of the most popular and most-played sports.

The Amer­i­can-born cen­ter has played a ma­jor role in lift­ing the in­ter­na­tional com­pet­i­tive­ness of Tai­wanese bas­ket­ball over the past years since he gave up his U.S. cit­i­zen­ship to be granted Repub­lic of China na­tion­al­ity in July 2013.

The nat­u­ral­ized player is the rea­son for Tai­wan’s twice sur­pris­ing victory over China on the hard­wood in 2013.

What makes the player stand out is not his per­sonal statis­tics and num­bers but his abil­ity to en­cour­age his team­mates to be bet­ter.

“I just want to show my team­mates that I am one of them,” Davis told The China Post dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view.

Davis, who has just re­cov­ered from a her­ni­ated in­ter­ver­te­bral disk prob­lem and started prac­tic­ing fol­low­ing weeks of re­hab, said he was ready to begin prac­tic­ing so that he will be soon be ready for the na­tional squad in up­com­ing in­ter­na­tional events.

Com­ment­ing on the fu­ture prospects of the na­tional team, the 32-year-old cen­ter said the squad has al­ready made sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments over the past years but there is more work to do in or­der to take Tai­wan to the next level.

“I think our main fo­cus should be not set­tling with where we are right now and con­tin­u­ing to im­prove.”

He stressed that all team mem­bers should take their role se­ri­ous be­cause the team is rep­re­sent­ing Tai­wan on the world stage.

“We want to be rec­og­nized as a na­tion and sports is one of the things peo­ple use to show their strength,” he noted.

Bas­ket­ball Jour­ney around the

Globe

Now the start­ing cen­ter for Tai­wan’s na­tional team, Davis said it was unimag­in­able for him that one day he would be mak­ing a living play­ing bas­ket­ball, let alone play­ing for the na­tional team.

Born in Cal­i­for­nia be­fore later mov­ing to Alabama, Davis be­gan play­ing bas­ket­ball at around five years old.

But he never re­ally con­sid­ered be­ing se­ri­ous about play­ing the sport even though he knew he played well and he was taller than other chil­dren in his neigh­bor­hood.

“I was not that in­ter­ested in bas­ket­ball as I was more in­ter­ested in sports com­pe­ti­tion be­cause of my com­pet­i­tive na­ture.”

With his good per­for­mance on the hard­wood, he be­gan to re­ceive schol­ar­ship of­fers to play bas­ket­ball at high school be­fore later en­rol­ing at Tu­lane Uni­ver­sity in New Or­leans and where he played for Tu­lane Green Wave.

In his four-year ca­reer there un­til 2006, he col­lected 559 re­bounds, in­clud­ing 226 of­fen­sive re­bounds, mak­ing him one of just 14 play­ers in school his­tory to achieve both a thou­sand points and five hun­dred re­bounds.

Though the eye-catch­ing per­for­mance did not land him a con­tract play­ing pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball in the U.S., he was in­vited to play over­seas, first in Cyprus, then Turkey, Venezuela and China, be­fore he was given the op­por­tu­nity to play for Tai­wan’s Su­per Bas­ket­ball League (SBL).

Davis said he orig­i­nally wanted to give up bas­ket­ball fol­low­ing his China trip. He had al­ready en­rolled in a fire­fight­ing academy back in the U.S. to pre­pare to be­come a fire­fighter.

Just be­fore he pre­pared to take his re­quired para­medic test, he got a phone call from his agent say­ing that an SBL team wanted to re­cruit him.

The of­fer was orig­i­nally pro­posed by the Tai­wan Beer un­til ul­ti­mately Davis joined the PureYouth Con­struc­tion Bas­ket­ball Team.

Think­ing back to when he first came to the is­land, Davis said many of his team­mates thought he would be fired shortly.

“Many thought that I could not jump as high or seemed stronger than other for­eign play­ers in the SBL and I could not do big dunks,” he said.

How­ever, Davis’ com­ing aboard ap­par­ently gave the team pos­i­tive mo­men­tum as it started win­ning.

He won player of the week and player of the month awards. The Pure Youth ul­ti­mately ad­vanced to the fi­nals be­fore los­ing to the Yu­lon 4- 1 at 2010- 2011 SBL sea­son.

Davis came back for the 2011-2012 sea­son as his pres­ence in the team con­tin­ued to make it stronger. At the end of the sea­son, he won the most valu­able player award for the 2011-2012 SBL and led the Taichung-based team to its first cham­pi­onship ti­tle. The Pure Youth ul­ti­mately won three con­sec­u­tive SBL ti­tles.

Nat­u­ral­ized Tai­wanese Cit­i­zen

His strong pres­ence in the painted area and his abil­ity to make his team­mates bet­ter made him a su­per­star in Tai­wan bas­ket­ball.

His team spirit and his high pop­u­lar­ity among Tai­wanese fans also makes him a per­fect choice for the na­tion’s bas­ket­ball au­thor­i­ties when it was de­cided to re­cruit for­eign play­ers to be nat­u­ral­ized into Tai­wan’s na­tional bas­ket­ball team.

On July, 2013, Davis was of­fi­cially granted Repub­lic of China na­tion­al­ity and be­came a gen­uine Tai­wanese.

Asked about the big de­ci­sion, Davis said it did not take him very long to ac­cept the in­vi­ta­tion to be- come a Tai­wanese cit­i­zen.

He said he is deeply in love with Tai­wanese and Asian cul­ture as a whole and more im­por­tantly, Tai­wanese are very friendly.

“Be­fore mak­ing the de­ci­sion I talked to my mom. She knows how tough in Amer­ica it can be (for me). To be black and live in the South,” he noted.

“She told me that I should make the choice as long as it makes me happy.”

Now two years af­ter his nat­u­ral­iza­tion, Davis con­tin­ues to fo­cus on the hard­wood to help to im­prove Tai­wan bas­ket­ball and to nur­ture lo­cal big men so that the na­tional team will be­come more com­pet­i­tive on the world stage.

Cul­ti­vat­ing Fu­ture Tal­ents in

Tai­wan

Asked about his fu­ture plan once he re­tires and whether he will con­tinue to stay in Tai­wan by then, Davis said he is still not sure where he wants to live. But he sure knows that he wants to stay in Tai­wan to help nur­ture lo­cal hoop tal­ents.

He said he is plan­ning to set up a school that com­bines English­language teach­ing with bas­ket­ball train­ing in Tai­wan af­ter re­tire­ment.

Davis noted that play­ing bas­ket­ball can teach kids to work with other peo­ple as a team. Learn­ing English is also im­por­tant for Tai­wanese chil­dren so that they can one day have a chance to study aboard.

“With English lan­guage skills, I hope more Tai­wanese can travel around the globe and bring back ideas from for­eign lands to Tai­wan.”

“They can serve as a bridge to lead Tai­wan to see other parts of the world.”

Stress­ing that Tai­wan is home for him now, Davis pledged to con­tinue to take Tai­wan bas­ket­ball to the next level so that the na­tion can shine on the world stage.

Photo by Joseph Yeh, The China Post

Start­ing cen­ter for Tai­wan’s na­tional bas­ket­ball team, Quincy Davis, poses for this un­dated pho­to­graph taken in Taipei. In July 2013, Davis was of­fi­cially granted Repub­lic of China na­tion­al­ity and be­came a Tai­wanese cit­i­zen.

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