Davion Highsmith coming into his own

Published 4:55 pm Monday, February 25, 2013

Davion Highsmith is one of the main reason Dowagiac is 18-1 this season and ranked No. 3 in the state. (Leader photo/File)

Davion Highsmith is one of the main reason Dowagiac is 18-1 this season and ranked No. 3 in the state. (Leader photo/File)

Danum Hunt has witnessed his share of slam dunks this season, but the one thrown down by junior Davion Highsmith in a home game last week against Paw Paw still has the veteran Dowagiac boys basketball coach buzzing.

“I’m trying to go back and get that dunk from the (Paw Paw) game and put it on You Tube,” Hunt said of the spectacular play by the 6-foot-1 Highsmith, who has emerged as a key player for a Chieftains team that sports an 18-1 overall record and entered the week ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Class B poll.

Davion is the younger brother of senior Dontel Highsmith, who is regarded as one of the best high school players in Michigan and will continue his basketball career next year at Northern Illinois University.

But plays like the one against Paw Paw, along with developing experience and maturity, is allowing the younger Highsmith to create his own identity.

“Davion is huge and brings a lot to this team,” Hunt said. “He is our second leading rebounder and scorer. I count on him to do a lot — rebound, score, get out and run the floor and sometimes defend the better offensive player from the other team. He’s very important.”

Older brother Dontel agreed with his coach.

“He’s a big part of this team, and his game is developing every day,” Dontel Highsmith said. “As an older brother, I am proud of him and happy to see it.”

Davion is actually the third Highsmith brother to play basketball at Dowagiac, with Darius preceding both current players. Hunt believes the youngest of the three brothers might also be the best athlete.

“Davion is a great athlete; probably the best athlete of the three,” Hunt said. “Davion is also starting to mature. Being the youngest, sometimes you tend to have a level of immaturity for a while, because you’re the baby and you get spoiled and you get coddled, but I have seen some growth in his maturity from just last summer.”

As have multiple Dowagiac opponents this season.

Davion Highsmith has demonstrated an ability to shoot from long range, as well as aggressively pound the ball inside, adding to a balanced scoring attack that has produced almost 80 points per game this season for the Chieftains.

Aiding Davion’s development as a basketball player has been the opportunity to play along side older brother, Dontel.

“He has had a big influence on me,” Davion said about Dontel. “I can remember going to watch him play in games and then after the game I would come home and try every single move he did. I want to follow in his footsteps and go to college to play basketball.”

For that to happen, Dontel Highsmith believes his younger brother still has some work to do.

“He probably won’t admit it, but he needs to improve his work ethic,” Dontel Highsmith said. “He gets lazy (on the court) sometimes, but he’s young and just needs to mature a little more.”

“Davion has an opportunity to play at the next level if he continues to grow and mature, develop a work ethic and have a hunger,” Hunt added. “With that, you can achieve anything.

“We’re going to continue to work on that, because it is my plan and desire to get him to the next level and enjoy the same opportunities his brothers had.”

In an attempt to get more exposure, Davion Highsmith plans to play AAU basketball this summer. In the meantime, he plans to enjoy the balance of the high school season and hopes to help lead the Chieftains to a deep run in the state tournament.

“I love my team,” he said. “It’s been a crazy ride.”