For Sheboygan North basketball fans, Davis Larson has been about as consistent as the sunrise.
Ever since bursting onto the scene as a freshmen in the fall of 2012, Golden Raiders fans have delighted in the combo-guard’s ability to affect a game in a variety of ways.
In his first season, he averaged 13 points per game. That average ballooned to 17.8 during his sophomore campaign that also saw him lead the Fox River Classic Conference in rebounding with 8.5 boards a game.
In his junior year, Larson’s scoring jumped again, this time to 18.5 points per game and Sheboygan North finished 11-5 in the FRCC, good enough for a fourth place finish.
Now in his senior year though, he’s aiming much higher. For the first time, the end is in sight and he’s starting to feel pressure to accomplish some of the team goals he’s envisioned since day one.
“Because I’m a senior and it’s my last year, there’s more of a sense of urgency,” Larson said. “All players want to end their careers with a good senior season. A lot of the other seniors and myself believe that same thing. Conference is a reachable goal. We want to end on top and know we’ve done the best we can.”
While Larson has remained a source of stability for Sheboygan North, the roster around him has experienced plenty of turmoil since last year’s fourth place finish. It’s up to the four-year starter to help bring along the players with less experience, and it’s a role Larson has stepped into with enthusiasm.
“This year, we have a different kind of lineup,” he said. “We have a lot of new guys from JV. I think we have four different starters gone from last year, but we have eight seniors. Some saw minutes last year and some did, but they’re stepping up the way a senior should. You have to be a leader for the juniors and sophomores. They want to play right away, but they have to learn their place and learn how to contribute to the team. I try to be an example for them.”
While that example certainly starts in preparation and his approach to practice, it’s probably most noticeable on game day. Larson prides himself on the energy he brings to the court and its infectious effect on his teammates.
“I have a motor,” he said. “I won’t quit. I play team ball and I try to do whatever is best for the team, whether that’s scoring, rebounding, passing or defending. I won’t stop playing hard.”
Coming into his senior year, Larson focused on rounding out his game. While he’s always been able to score in a variety of ways, he placed an emphasis on stretching the defense this season, which should help open up the floor for the rest of the roster.
“My defense and my consistency with my jump shot are things I’ve worked on,” he said. “Last season, I wasn’t very proud of my performance behind the three-point arc, but so far this year, I’ve already shown pretty good numbers from back there. When it comes to defending, I’ve worked on it all four years. I’m focused on not taking any plays off on defense.”
Having a complete game is something that’s important to Larson. A gaudy point total is much less satisfying that a well-rounded stat-line, as is evidenced by one of his best games from a year ago.
“Last year, we got a win here at home against Bay Port,” he said. “They were first in the conference at the time. I know I didn’t score as much, but it was a great team win. I had 16 points, eight or nine rebounds and eight assists. I got everyone involved and that led us to that victory.”
Larson’s love for basketball borders on obsession. Even when he’s not playing, he’s likely fueling up for another run or out cheering on his friends on the girls team.
“I like to eat a lot,” he said. “That’s one thing I love. I also like to support all the North sports. I like to support the girl’s basketball team and like to support my friends in whatever they’re doing.”
When his senior season comes to a close, Davis won’t just be saying goodbye to the program he’s helped lead for four years, but head coach Tom Desotell as well. Davis said he owes a lot of his development as a player and a teammate to his coach’s leadership.
“I want coach to be proud of me at the end of my career,” he said. “I want him to know I played hard for him for four years and I want to do my best at all times.”
Desotell said Larson has already left his mark on the program.
“Davis comes to practice every day and he’s the first one here,” he said. “Coaches always notice who the first one is. He’s not going to be outworked in anything he does that relates to basketball. He’s interested in his teammates and that’s the kind of person that really stands out in a coach’s mind. We want him to be a coach on the floor for us this year, and that’s tough for any kid his age.”
Nearly the entirety of the story of his senior season is yet to be written, and Larson is determined to take nothing for granted. When the final buzzer sounds on his last game in a North uniform though, he’ll be ready to tackle new goals and make a new name for himself on another school’s hardwood. So while Larson plays out his final chapter of his decorated career at North, he’ll relish in the reality that entirely new set of challenges is right around the corner.
“I picture myself playing in college somewhere,” he said. “I’m on the top of the totem pole right now as a senior, but I know next year, I’ll be back on the bottom as a freshman. I’ll have to work really hard for that and keep striving for my goals. I’m looking forward to that.”