By Ben Everett | Sports Writer
Baylor men’s basketball sophomore forward Jonathan Davis, previously a walk-on member of the team, was awarded a full scholarship last week during a pre-game team chapel service.
The video of the service went viral, appearing on multiple social media platforms and being featured on USA Today.
Assistant coach Jerome Tang led the service, speaking on what it means to be a servant leader.
“People recognize servants,” Tang said as a part of the lesson. “They recognize those who come to serve and not be served — guys who lay down their life.”
At the end of the service, Tang asked Davis to read from a piece of paper in front of the team. Davis proceeded to read an excerpt from an article about Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and his humble approach to basketball stardom.
Following the excerpt, Davis continued to read from the sheet, saying “one of our own servant leaders will today receive a full scholarship. Congrats Jonathan Davis.”
As Davis was comprehending what he had read, the other players rushed to surround the former walk-on and congratulate him.
Davis says it took him a few moments to realize what had happened.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Davis said. “I was shocked, and I really couldn’t believe what I read. It didn’t even hit me. My brain had to catch up to what my mouth had just said.”
Davis, a native of Argyle, says playing college basketball was always a dream of his, and Baylor just seemed like the right fit.
“I knew I wanted to play basketball in college if I could,” Davis said,” but I wanted to play at a high level. I’ve always liked Baylor, but becoming a manager and having the potential to walk on just came out of the blue. I just really felt like it was a God thing.”
Davis spent his freshman year as a manager and member of the practice squad, but he never dressed out for games and did not travel with the team. In November, he was added to the roster as a walk-on.
When asked what it meant to be a servant leader, Davis said it’s all about putting others before yourself, especially in a team setting.
“It means just doing everything for the benefit of the team. Putting the team and others before yourself. Its like in any drill, I’d rather play defense so that the starters can get reps because they’re the ones that are going to be getting the game minutes. I enjoy serving them because it benefits our team as a whole.
Davis says the family atmosphere is palpable within the basketball program and that he felt like he was a part of the team before he was an official member.
“You can see that this team is special and that we care about each other,” Davis said. “You could see the reaction of the guys in the video.”
Davis has appeared in 11 games this year and scored a career-high nine points against John Brown University on Dec. 18.