« Weekend wrap – Gibbs wills team to title | Main | Prep school helps Donya Jackson 'a whole lot' »

March 1, 2011

Davon Usher hitting stride at JUCO in Fla.

davon-usher-polk-state.jpg With a hobbled Davon Usher plagued by an "irritated herniated disc" in his back, Polk State College limped to a 3-10 start to its 2010-11 men’s basketball campaign.

When the former Digital Harbor wing returned to full strength, the Vikings’ fortunes changed dramatically.

“What happened was after Christmas, when he became healthy, we’re 14-3 since,” said Polk State coach Matt Furjanic. “So I guarantee you a lot of that happened because he’s healthy now and doing a great job for us.”

A 2010 Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection, Usher had planned on spending his college career at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. But when the 6-foot-6 prospect couldn’t get through the NCAA Clearinghouse, junior college became his best option. Furjanic said he found out about Usher’s availability thanks to some college coaches here in Baltimore.

“We’re lucky to have him. We’re really lucky,” Furjanic said. “The assistant coaches at Towson are good friends of ours. They told us about him in the summer. He wasn’t getting the grades. Corpus-Christi backed off when he didn’t get through the clearinghouse. So the coaches from Towson called us and said, ‘Listen, you’ve got to look at this kid. He can really play.’ We signed him [in] like July.”

Furjanic had high hopes for Usher once he arrived on the Lakeland, Fla., campus, but the back issues popped up “around the middle of November.” Usher was extremely limited in practice. During games, he would either play sparingly or sit out altogether. Over the holiday break, Usher returned to Baltimore under doctors orders to rest. He returned to Florida improved, and with a more aggressive rehab program, was back to full strength by the middle of January.

“When he got healthy, he was just a big key for us coming off the bench,” Furjanic said. “He plays three different positions. He plays mostly outside for us. He can just attack the rim for offensive rebounds. He does all the little things that are necessary.”

In his role as Polk State’s sixth man, Usher has averaged nine points and 5.5 rebounds in Sun Coast Conference play. He’s the Vikings’ third-leading scorer, and was a second-team all-conference selection. Usher will lead his team into the Florida state junior college tournament this week, starting with a matchup against Marianna on Thursday. Furjanic is counting on Usher to provide a scoring punch off the bench.

“His strength right now is his intensity, the way he plays,” Furjanic said. “He’s an average outside shooter, but he can take the ball to the basket and finish. He’s a good offensive rebounder. But he just plays so hard. And that was frustrating when he had the back problems. It just limited him on what he can do. But now that he’s healthy, with the intensity level that he plays with, offensively and defensively, I mean he’s a winner. That’s probably the best way I can explain it.”

Recruiting doesn’t really get started for junior-college players until their sophomore year, but Furjanic said North Florida and Stetson have already expressed interest in Usher. There’s also a hometown school that remains on Usher’s mind.

“Right now, he really likes Pat Kennedy at Towson,” Furjanic said. “Towson’s been in contact with him. He really likes Pat Kennedy a lot. I know he would have a big interest in coming back home. He mentioned how excited he would be after having two years away, he could come back to Baltimore. So I know Towson has shown interest. They haven’t offered yet. That’s probably the one school he’s really excited about.”

Furjanic said Usher is “doing great in the classroom,” earning better than a 3.0 grade-point average during his first semester. Usher will continue to play a major part for the Vikings this season, and Furjanic expects him to have an expanded role as a sophomore.

“With a good offseason program coming back next year, he’s just going to take off,” Furjanic said. “He plays so hard, is so coachable and does everything you ask of him. You tell him something, he responds. He’s going to do what you want him to do as a player. … He’s just a great kid. We’re just really excited about him and excited about his future."

Photo of Davon Usher courtesy of Polk State College.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:38 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local recruiting


Will Kennedy be at Towson next year?? They are lousy to even listen too. Isn't this the last year of his deal?

Sturmy: This is the last year of Kennedy's deal. -- Matt

Davon is a great kid and a wonderful basketball player. I wish him much success at Polk and at his future university. My only advice to Davon would be to explore universities outside of baltimore and even outside of maryland. Take time to mature as a young man elsewhere, because you are NOT missing anything in Baltimore.

NOVA won the JUCO State Championship in Virginia

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "g" in the field below:
About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

High school recruiting database
Area high school commitments -- 2009
Area high school commitments -- 2008
Maryland's 2011 football commitments
Maryland's 2010 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2009 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2008 football recruiting class

Sign up for FREE local sports alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local sports text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Most Recent Comments

Buy Sports Tickets from the Baltimore Sun Store

Photo galleries
Blog updates
Recent updates to sports blogs  Subscribe to this feed
Charm City Current
Stay connected