Game Preview: Milan vs. SMCC, 2/27

The Milan Big Reds (17-2, 13-0 Huron League) wrap up their regular season with a road contest against SMCC (14-2, 11-2 Huron League) on Friday. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Milan's Nick Perkins (34) calls for the ball in last year's road game against SMCC. (File photo by Paula Dotson)

Milan’s Nick Perkins (34) calls for the ball in last year’s road game against SMCC. (File photo by Paula Dotson)

Just a short time ago: The two teams played in a contest on Saturday, with the host Big Reds defeating the Falcons 54-43.

In-between: Milan and SMCC both won their games on Tuesday. The Big Reds defeated Grosse Ile and won their fourth straight conference title with the win, while the Falcons beat Monroe Jefferson 73-64.

Last year: Milan defeated SMCC 59-50 when the two teams played in Monroe on Jan. 24, 2014. In that contest, Latin Davis led the Big Reds with 16 points, while teammate Nick Perkins contributed 15. That win gave the Huron League conference lead to the Big Reds in just their fifth conference game of the season, one that Milan never lost for the remainder of the 2013-14 regular season.

On fire: Milan enters Friday’s contest with a 10-game win streak.

Had their number: The Big Reds have beaten the Falcons 8 straight times (counting last year’s playoff). The last Milan loss to SMCC was on Feb. 18, 2011, a 58-57, two-overtime contest.

Tough environment: The Falcons have not lost a home game this season; they are 8-0 in their home gym.

 

Milan survives Grosse Ile on Senior Night, wins 4th straight Huron League title

The Milan Big Reds needed one win in their final two games to clinch the Huron League championship outright. They won their fourth consecutive conference title on Tuesday night, as they defeated the Grosse Ile Red Devils 68-52 on Senior Night.

Nick Perkins (34) dunks in Milan's 68-52 win over Grosse Ile on Tuesday night. Perkins led all scorers with 24 points in the contest. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

Nick Perkins (34) dunks in Milan’s 68-52 win over Grosse Ile on Tuesday night. Perkins led all scorers with 24 points in the contest. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

While the Big Reds accomplished the significant feat, the contest did not go as Milan initially envisioned. The Big Reds built a lead early in the contest, lost it, and then struggled to build a strong lead until late in the game.

After the team’s eight seniors were recognized prior to the start of the game, Milan got off to a hot start. The Big Reds led 10-2 just two-and-a-half minutes in. The Red Devils surprised Milan, however, going on a 14-5 run to take a 16-15 lead with 52 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. The Big Reds ended the frame trailing 18-17.

Milan finally regained the lead with 4:33 to go in the half after a Garrett Gardette two-pointer, and used a 12-0 run to take a 33-25 lead into the half.

Grosse Ile kept the fight going, using a 9-1 run to cut the lead to 36-34 with 1:43 remaining in the third period. Following the basket by the Red Devils’ Neil Smorch, Milan ended the frame on a 10-2 run and led 46-36 with the final quarter yet to play.

The Big Reds finally gained momentum in the fourth, generating turnovers with their defensive pressure and using an 11-0 run to stretch the lead to 21 points.

Latin Davis (32) drives for a shot in Tuesday night's contest. Davis scored 18 points for Milan. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

Latin Davis (32) drives for a shot in Tuesday night’s contest. Davis scored 18 points for Milan. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

On the night, Milan senior forward Nick Perkins led all scorers with 24 points. Senior point guard Latin Davis added 18 for the Big Reds. Grosse Ile was led in scoring by Tyler Moores and Andrew Mitroka, who each scored 12 points.

When asked to describe the game in one word, Milan head coach Chris Pope struggled to find a fitting answer. “Relieved,” he said after a 14-second pause, smiling as he answered the question. “I’m just relieved that we were able to get the win. We didn’t play our best basketball in the first half. We didn’t do the little things we were supposed to do tonight.”

The junior varsity Big Reds also defeated Grosse Ile, ending a two-game slide with a 53-46 win over the Red Devils. With the victory, the JV squad is now 12-4 in their season.

The varsity Big Reds (17-2) conclude the regular season at SMCC on Friday. The two teams played in Milan last Saturday, with the host Big Reds defeating the Falcons 54-43.

Friday’s contest is set for a 7 p.m. start.

 

 

Perkins soars above the rest

Nick Perkins is easy to spot on the basketball court – not only for his athleticism, basketball skills, and intimidating presence – but for an even simpler reason.

Nick Perkins, who will play at the University of Buffalo next fall, has been a key part of Milan's success during his time as a Big Red. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

Nick Perkins, who will play at the University of Buffalo next fall, has been a key part of Milan’s success during his time as a Big Red. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

He’s the tall guy.

Perkins, a starting forward for the Milan Big Reds, stands at 6-foot-9. His height is the reason he’s introduced with the nickname “The Big Man on Campus” by the PA announcer before the start of every home game. He stands out from the rest of the players on the floor because of his noticeable height.

Nick has accomplished plenty in just two-and-a-half seasons with the Big Reds. He played a key role in Milan’s title run last season, aiding his team to a single-season school record 25 wins. Perkins has scored 850 points in his illustrious career and has averaged 16.7 points per game so far in his senior season. In addition, Nick has never lost a Huron League conference game. (The Big Reds have won 53 straight conference games.)

Nick started his Milan career as a sophomore, transferring from Ann Arbor Huron. The journey he’s been on ever since is one he didn’t see coming.

*  *  *

In Nick’s first season, he had to wait to play. Due to MHSAA transfer rules, Nick could not suit up for the Big Reds until the new semester began in mid-January. Still, he knew why he joined the team.

“I felt like (coming to Milan) was the best opportunity for me,” Perkins said, reflecting on the start. “I’ve known Latin (Davis) for a long time. It was a good opportunity to reconnect that bond that we had in middle school. I knew that Milan had good coaches, too.”

The initial transition – going from a big city and big school to a small town and smaller school – was tough on him. “It was different at first,” Nick said. “I wasn’t used to the atmosphere. But when I got used to it, I started liking it a lot, and it became easy.”

*  *  *

Nick’s first season ended with a tough loss to Romulus in the Class A regional final.

Nick scored 10 points for the Big Reds in the regional final, which was something, but not the something that most people noticed. Milan fans had mostly paid attention to the final score, or, in regards to their own team, CJ Turnage – who scored 19 – and the then-sophomore Davis, who led the team with 22.

Amidst the hype, Perkins – the 6-foot-5 sophomore forward – stood out to the Romulus head coach, Nate Oats.

“He had nice touch,” Oats said in a recent interview, recalling the game. “Nick was a tough (guy to) cover for our seniors. He fought hard; he played well. For a sophomore, Nick was pretty tough.”

*  *  *

Primarily a player coming off the bench in his first year at Milan, Nick’s junior year brought new opportunities. For the first time, he had a firm role in the starting lineup, after playing behind Turnage and Stephen Evans the year before.

Nick (left) attempts a shot in Milan's state title game last year. (File photo by Paula Dotson)

Nick (left) attempts a shot in Milan’s state title game last year. (File photo by Paula Dotson)

Nick wasted little time to show what he was capable of. He played a key role in leading the Big Reds to the Class B state championship last March, the first Milan basketball title in 66 years. He averaged 15.4 points per game in the 28 games Milan played.

In the title game against Benton Harbor, a 78-59 Big Reds victory, Nick scored 24 points.

“(Winning the title) was pretty special,” he said, recalling the game. “We worked pretty hard throughout the season. We did a lot to get the state title and we deserved it.”

*  *  *

During the fall of his junior year – well before the title run – Nick began receiving college offers, primarily from schools of the Mid-American Conference.

One school that showed particular interest was the University of Buffalo. As it turned out, a familiar link was a big reason the Bulls were looking at the Milan forward.

Oats, the one-time Romulus head coach, had been hired by Buffalo as an assistant coach in June 2013, shortly after Romulus had won the Class A title.

After recruiting for Buffalo’s class of 2014 that summer, Oats turned his attention to scouting for the class of 2015 in the fall.

Tbe Bulls would have two senior forwards heading into the 2014-15 season. Needing to fill what would become an open position following the campaign, Oats remembered the tough player from Milan.

The Buffalo coach traveled to Michigan and made a scholarship offer to Perkins during an open gym session.

The decision, however, was not a quick one for Perkins. “It was all the way up to the end before we got Nick to commit,” Oats said. “There were a lot of schools (trying to recruit him). Nobody saw him play more than (head coach Bobby) Hurley and I did. We showed Nick that we wanted him more than anyone else.

“We had a need for him.”

Oats made a point to make Nick and his family feel comfortable about everything Buffalo had to offer, from academics to where Nick would be on the court, and in the end, it worked out for both coach and player.

Since committing to the school, Nick has been very supportive of his future team. “He follows us pretty close,” Oats said. “He texts us after games, he watches games on TV. I think he’s excited to get out there with us. (We’ve tried to) do a good job in letting him know he’s a priority for us by coming out to his games.”

The soon-to-be Buffalo Bull has great things to say about his future. “I felt like Buffalo was the best place to grow as a player and person,” Perkins said.

He also thinks highly of his college coaches. “Those are two great coaches who know what they’re doing at all times,” Nick said, referencing Oats and Hurley. “They know how to develop good players. It’s a great opportunity.”

*  *  *

Since coming to Milan, Nick has made an impression on the coaches that he has been around for the last two-and-a-half years. “He’s more coachable now than when he first got here,” Milan head coach Chris Pope said. “Nick has been willing to accept coaching and broaden out his game.”

Perkins is known for his dunking ability, as shown here in a game against New Boston Huron. (File photo by Paula Dotson)

Perkins is known for his dunking ability, as shown here in a game against New Boston Huron. (File photo by Paula Dotson)

When Perkins’ days as a Big Red are over, Pope wants the fans to remember what Nick has helped to accomplish. “He’s a winner that’s come and helped put Milan on the map,” Pope said. “He’s a very unique player for somebody with his size, being able to shoot inside and out. Nick has a chance to be one of the better players at the next level (who’s played at) Milan.”

*  *  *

Off the court, while Nick is still noticeable for his height, he has the gentle giant persona.

“Nick is always very respectful,” said Milan PA announcer Scott Dotson. “He’s courteous, soft-spoken, and has a good sense of humor. I’ve always felt he’s mature beyond his years.”

Nick himself wants to be remembered for his performance on the court and his attitude off of it. “I’m more aggressive on the court now than when I first started,” he said. “People expect me to be mean because of the way I play, but I’m really a nice guy. I want people to remember me as more than a basketball player – that I’m a good guy.”

*  *  *

While Nick knows his future is secure, the current task at hand is winning ballgames for Milan. The Big Reds are aiming for their fourth consecutive Huron League conference title. Nick and the Big Reds also have their sights set on another state title.

“Winning another title would mean (a lot) to me,” he said. “It’s harder to stay on top when you’ve already reached the top. Making it (back) would show everybody that Milan is a big deal.”

*  *  *

At one time, Nick Perkins was a sophomore who was out of his element – new town, new school, new team.

Since then, his on-the-court skill set and off-the-court personality have given him some unexpected opportunities, and with each opportunity, Nick has stepped up to the plate. His future is settled, but there’s one thing still at large: Nick wants to win another state title, and nothing will stop his pursuit of it.

It might sound like a tall order, but for the 6-foot-9 Nick, it’s just another chance to achieve a goal and keep looking up.

 

 

Game Preview: Grosse Ile vs. Milan, 2/24

The Milan Big Reds (16-2) play their final home game of the regular season on Tuesday, facing off against the Grosse Ile Red Devils (9-7). The Senior Night contest is set to begin at 7 p.m.

Milan's group of seniors will play their final regular season game at home on Tuesday. (Not pictured: Cal Reed; photo by Paula Dotson)

Milan’s group of seniors will play their final regular season game at home on Tuesday. (Not pictured: Cal Reed; photo by Paula Dotson)

Last call: Each of the Big Reds’ eight seniors will be honored in a pre-game ceremony. They are: Warren Calloway, Latin Davis, Korbin Gephart, Thomas Lindeman, Lance Lewis, Nick Perkins, Cal Reed, and Jon Swain.

Win, and they’re champs again: If Milan is victorious on Tuesday night, they will win their fourth straight Huron League championship.

As it stands now, the Big Reds own at least a share of the conference title, having gained that control when they beat SMCC on Saturday.

Don’t worry, they’ll be back: Milan is not done playing ballgames at home. The Big Reds will host a district in the playoffs. District play begins Monday, March 9.

On the road again: Tuesday’s contest is Grosse Ile’s first road game since Jan. 27. Each of the Red Devils’ last seven games have been at home (their first home game in that group of seven was a contest against Milan on Jan. 30, which the Big Reds won 81-52).

Grosse Ile is 3-3 on the road this season. They have lost each of their last three road games; the Red Devils’ last road win was a 48-43 victory over Riverview on Jan. 16.

Bronze medal: Heading into their matchup with Milan, Grosse Ile is third in the Huron League conference standings, both with their 9-7 overall record and 7-5 conference record.

En fuego: Grosse Ile strolls into Milan having won 5 of their last 6 ballgames. Their lone loss in that stretch was a one-point loss to SMCC on Feb. 13 (a 40-39 defeat at the hands of the Falcons).

Two of the same: Like Milan, Grosse Ile hosts a district round. The winner of each district will face off in the first round of the regional playoffs in Chelsea.

 

 

Big Reds claim big win over SMCC

The Milan Big Reds had anticipated their matchup with the SMCC Falcons all season long. The contest matched the No. 1-ranked team in Class B with the No. 6-ranked team in Class C, as well as the top two teams in the Huron League conference standings. Finally getting their chance to face off against their conference rival on Saturday night in front of a packed gym, the Big Reds came away with a 54-43 victory.

Latin Davis (right) shoots a three-pointer in Milan's 54-43 victory over SMCC on Saturday night. Davis led all scorers in the game with 18 points. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

Latin Davis (right) shoots a three-pointer in Milan’s 54-43 victory over SMCC on Saturday night. Davis led all scorers in the game with 18 points. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

The result of the game might have gone the other way if not for a turn of events midway through the fourth quarter.

With 3:07 remaining in the final frame, the Big Reds held a 45-38 lead. Milan forward Nick Perkins had been assessed a technical foul for arguing with a referee over a traveling call, and the Falcons’ Stephan Umfress – who led the team with 15 points – was at the free-throw line. Each of Umfress’ free throws clanked off of the right side of the basket’s rim and backboard. Maintaining possession, the Falcons were unable to score, and instead of the lead possibly being cut to as few as three points and swinging the momentum, the Milan lead stayed at seven.

Thirty seconds later, Perkins hit a jumper that put the Big Reds up 47-38.

SMCC cut the lead to 47-40 with 1:45 remaining, but a Lance Lewis bucket 22 seconds later brought Milan’s lead back up to nine and all but ended ended any possible threat of a comeback.

For the first three-and-a-half quarters, the two squads played a back-and-forth game. Milan held the lead at the end of each quarter – four points after the 1st, two points at the half, and seven points after the 3rd – but SMCC fought to keep the contest close in each frame. Whenever Milan tried to stretch the lead beyond the seven-point threshold, the Falcons seemed to answer.

Despite the SMCC effort to keep the game within reach, their effort was not enough.

Milan had four double-digit scorers in the game. Latin Davis led all scorers with 18 points. Perkins contributed 13, while Garrett Gardette scored 11 and Thomas Lindeman had 10. Umfress led SMCC with his 15, while teammate Bryce Windham scored 14.

Garrett Gardette (with ball) is fouled by SMCC's Stephan Umfress in Milan's 54-43 victory over the Falcons Saturday night. Gardette scored 11 points in the game. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

Garrett Gardette (with ball) is fouled by SMCC’s Stephan Umfress in Milan’s 54-43 victory over the Falcons Saturday night. Gardette scored 11 points in the game. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

“I’m proud to get the win,” Milan head coach Chris Pope said. “The goal is to win the Huron League championship, and we were able (to get one win closer) tonight.”

The Big Reds, who improved to 16-2 on the season and 12-0 in conference play with the victory, own at least a share of the Huron League crown. A win in one of Milan’s final two contests – against Grosse Ile on Tuesday or on the road against SMCC Friday – would clinch the outright conference title for the Big Reds and give Milan four straight conference championships.

Tuesday’s game against the Red Devils will be Milan’s final home game in the regular season. Before the contest begins, each of the Big Reds’ eight seniors will be honored. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

 

 

 

Game Preview: SMCC vs. Milan, 2/21

Milan (15-2, 11-0 Huron League) plays their biggest game of the season, a home match against conference rival St. Mary’s Catholic Central, on Saturday night. The contest will begin at 6 p.m. (an hour earlier than the standard start time).

Nick Perkins and Latin Davis (in red jerseys) led Milan to three victories over SMCC a season ago (File photo by Paula Dotson)

Nick Perkins and Latin Davis (in red jerseys) led Milan to three victories over SMCC a season ago. (File photo by Paula Dotson)

The weather outside was frightful: The game was originally supposed to be played on Feb. 3, but was postponed after both schools had a snow day.

See you so soon: Milan and SMCC will play each other again in the Big Reds’ regular season finale on Feb. 27.

Making history: Earlier in the season, SMCC coach Randy Windham notched his 100th career victory. Windham, who has coached the Falcons for five seasons, became just the second coach in program history to have 100 or more career victories; the other was legendary coach Ray Lauwers, who compiled a 615-306 record over 42 seasons.

Tenure: Windham is only the third coach in SMCC’s history to be at the helm of the team for more than three seasons. The other was Jack Castignola, who coached the Falcons for 10 seasons (from 1953 to 1963). Castignola coached SMCC to a 78-94 record in his time as coach.

Sweepstakes: Milan swept SMCC in the three matchups between the schools last season. Milan’s last two victories were significant, as the Big Reds won the Huron League crown in the 2nd regular season matchup and then defeated the Falcons to advance to the district finals in the playoffs.

On a roll: Milan enters Saturday night on an 8-game win streak, while SMCC has won their last three*.

(The Falcons play a contest against New Boston Huron tonight; a win would make it four straight. SMCC enters Friday with a 12-1 overall record and 9-1 Huron League record)

Surprised: The Falcons’ only loss this season came to Riverview. The Pirates defeated SMCC 55-54 on Feb. 6.

Shakin’ it up: The Falcons graduated six seniors from last year’s team, including Brad Sherman. Nine players from last year’s team return, including Bryce Windham.

SMCC’s 2014-15 roster features one freshman, one sophomore, eight juniors and four seniors.

Leaving His Legacy

Latin Davis has one set of goals in mind every time he suits up for the Milan Big Reds: to be the best he can be, help his team win, make his family proud and leave a legacy.

Latin Davis has been a star for the Milan Big Reds throughout his four-year varsity career. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

Latin Davis has been a star for the Milan Big Reds throughout his four-year varsity career. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

Those goals mean a lot to him.

They fuel how he plays. The same kid who is calm and collected off the court has a fiery passion to play his heart out in practice and for 32 minutes on game nights.

Once a shy freshman who had trouble adjusting to life on the varsity basketball team, his high school career has blossomed into something he never imagined.

*   *   *

The success began when Latin was a kindergartner, with help from his family.

Influenced in his younger days by his father, he began watching the NBA and focusing on basketball as something he could excel at from the start.

Early on, it became clear that Latin possessed a special kind of talent. “I could tell he was good when he was six years old,” his father, Latin Sr., said. “Back then, he was the best player on his teams growing up. (As a six-year-old), he was doing things eighth graders couldn’t do.”

The younger Latin credits his father and uncle for helping him to be a better player. “I’ve learned a lot from my dad and my uncle (Jesse),” he said. “My uncle gives me a lot of advice, and my dad taught me a lot of things growing up.”

The bond has only gotten stronger as the years have passed. The trio are all a part of the team – father and uncle on the coaching staff, Latin as a player – and Latin wears No. 32 to continue a family tradition. “My dad wore 32 when he played in high school,” he said. “I just kept it going.”

The connection also serves as Latin’s day-to-day motivation for the high intensity he displays when he steps on the floor. “I just try to make my family proud and get better (as a basketball player),” he said.

*   *   *

As Latin began high school, he transferred to Milan from Willow Run, but he was not unfamiliar with Milan basketball. “I used to come up to Milan all the time,” he said. “I’d come up here for open gyms with my uncle, and to work out. I had a good relationship with (former head coach Josh) Tropea and I told my dad, ‘I feel like this is a good move for me.’

“I could get a good education, and I felt like I could come here and help this program.”

While basketball came easy to him as a youngster, Latin was in for a surprise. It took him some time to adjust to the new surroundings of high school basketball. “It was tough transferring from 8th grade to 9th grade, getting into the hang of things (at a new school), and being on varsity,” he said.

Those early nerves are now nowhere to be found. “I’m more confident now,” Davis said, in a relaxed tone. “I’ve improved on a lot of things – my jump shot, getting stronger, my dribbling ability. I felt like I got stronger in a lot of ways.”

Davis (32, right) shoots a three-pointer in Milan's 78-59 state championship win over Benton Harbor last March. He tied the state record for most three-pointers in a championship game (7) and scored a career-high 34 points in the contest. (File photo by Paula Dotson)

Davis (right) shoots a three-pointer in Milan’s 78-59 state championship win over Benton Harbor last March. (File photo by Paula Dotson)

He used that experience and confidence last season to guide his team to the program’s first state title in 66 years, culminating with a 78-59 Milan win over Benton Harbor in the Class B championship game. With 11,000-plus spectators watching every move he made, Davis hit seven 3-pointers – tying a state record for three-pointers in a championship game – and scored a career-high 34 points.

The title game sticks out in Latin’s mind as his favorite accomplishment. “It felt great being out there (at the Breslin Center) in front of the Milan community,” he said. “It was a great experience.

“I never thought I would (win a state title). It was a very special moment. A lot of people were proud of (our team), for us to get there and win.”

On the court, Latin has made the most of his opportunity at Milan, recently becoming the No. 2 all-time scorer in the program’s history. He entered this season with 961 points scored in his career, and has vaulted up to 1,271 (as of Feb. 17). The only Big Red who stands in his way is Stan Joplin, who scored 1,501 points throughout the mid-1970s.

Latin will also be the winningest player in the program’s history, having helped Milan to 81 wins in three-plus seasons as a Big Red (with the chance for several more before his high school career is over). He has also helped lead his team to three straight Huron League titles, and played a key role in aiding Milan to the all-time Huron League record of 52 consecutive conference victories. (The record, which has occurred with conference wins over the last three seasons, is still going strong.)

*  *  *

Both on and off the court, Latin enjoys being around his teammates. “They’re like my brothers,” he said.

In a joking manner, Latin and teammate Nick Perkins pose for a picture on the team's picture day. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

In a joking manner, Latin and teammate Nick Perkins pose for a picture on the team’s picture day. (Photo by Paula Dotson)

And his teammates think the same of him. “(He’s) like a brother that you always want to be around,” said Lance Lewis, who has been on the varsity team with Latin for three years. “On the court, (he) can get annoying because (he) pushes the team to work hard, but he’s like a brother.”

Thomas Lindeman, also a three-year varsity teammate, speaks highly of him. “Latin likes to joke around,” Lindeman said. “But he’s stepped up as a leader since sophomore year. He used to get mad at us if we were joking around in practice back then, but now he jokes around with us. Latin’s a great decision maker on the court, and he helps our team try to win games.”

Davis’ coach, Chris Pope, has plenty of praise for his star point guard. “Latin’s more of a vocal leader (on the floor) than he was as a freshman,” Pope said, having coached him all four years. “He’s one of our hardest workers. He gets along great with all of his teammates, and (they) look up to him.”

When he’s not playing basketball, Latin’s favorite hobbies are playing video games and listening to music. His favorite artist is Tupac. “Latin enjoys his music,” Pope said. “He’s a free spirit and a people person.”

*   *   *

Latin secured a future in basketball this past fall, committing to play for Youngstown State in September. A Division I school, the Penguins are based in Youngstown, Ohio, and play in the Horizon League alongside teams such as Detroit Mercy, Oakland University, and Cleveland State.

Davis chose Youngstown over several other possibilities, turning down offers from schools like Kent State, Northern Illinois and Saginaw Valley. He was drawn to the Youngstown coaching staff and was pleased with the way they treated him on his visit. “They treated me like I was on the team already,” Latin said. “They treated me and my family well. I felt like (going there) was a good fit for me. They’ve got a good education program.”

Pope thinks Youngstown will have a great player. “I think (they) got them a steal,” the first-year head coach said. “I think Latin’s going to be one of the best freshmen in the Horizon League. He has a chance to really (make a statement) as a point guard for them.”

*  *  *

While the future looks bright for Latin, the focus for now is on trying to win a second straight state title. (The Big Reds are currently 15-2 and lead the Huron League with a 11-0 record. The team has three regular-season games to play before hosting a playoff district and taking on the Dundee Vikings on March 9.)

When his time with Milan is over, the senior point guard hopes that his days as a Big Red are well thought of. “I hope people remember that I was one of the best players to come through Milan,” Latin said. “That’s what I’ve tried to be.”

With a state title and many other notable accomplishments under his belt, Latin Davis has indeed made a name for himself. The once shy and intimidated freshman point guard has matured into a well-recognized and well-accomplished star over the course of his career.

It’s safe to say that the legacy, and the name attached to it, is here to stay.