The family of Our Savior New American's (N.Y.) Steele Davis was scattered across the United States when Hurricane Katrina destroyed their home in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Davis and some of his nine siblings endured periods of homelessness and transient living, and his parents returned to the Dominican Republic, but Davis has emerged as a top basketball talent and is gaining increased collegiate interest.
Since Hurricane Katrina, Davis has lived in Philadelphia; New Jersey; Louisiana; and Silver Spring, Md., but now appears to have found a home in New York where he can complete his high school career.
"It has been a good transition to New York. I'm living with a real great host family, and I like it here," Davis said. "It is real good up here in terms of the academics. The class sizes are small, like 20 to 25 students in a class. They take academics seriously and really work on it. I had a 3.1 GPA this period. I'm working on my basketball, and the coaches and players are good here. The important thing is to get a good education and get to college."
Though still raw as a basketball player, Davis showed enormous potential while playing in the Kids First summer basketball league in Washington, D.C., while living in Silver Spring.
After considering a couple of D.C.-area private high schools, Davis ultimately landed at Our Savior New American, a private school coached by the Rev. Ron Stelzer. Stelzer has sent a number of basketball players to Division I colleges over the years, including a number of foreign-born players.
"Steele is working out well here," Stelzer said. "He is a good young man. He is a big kid and has a lot of talent and potential, though he needs more experience and to work on his game. He missed a little time in the preseason and is a little behind in his conditioning right now, but he is a big kid, a legitimate 6-8, maybe going on 6-9, and he is very strong and has a very good frame. He has a chance to be a very good player."
Davis is not yet a household name in recruiting circles, but USC, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Memphis, Florida, Georgetown, LSU, Syracuse, DePaul and Boston College have already been in touch with the powerfully built 6-8, 225-pound sophomore.
As a freshman, Davis played one semester at a Rise School, a private school in Philadelphia, before going to Baton Rouge, La. Davis averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds at Rise School and maintained a 3.0 GPA for the year.
After spending last summer living in Maryland, Davis enrolled at Our Savior for the fall.
At this point early in his prep career, Davis is still rather raw in terms of his floor skills, but he is strong, has very good hands, plays physically and is showing more confidence in his ability to put the ball on the floor and face up on offense.
Davis wants to play Division I college basketball and said his favorite college is Georgetown University. He met coach John Thompson III while in D.C. this summer and is impressed by Georgetown's academic and basketball excellence.
"I almost committed to Georgetown this summer," Davis said. "It is a great school that I like a lot."
Davis plans to spend this summer back in the Maryland and D.C. area playing AAU basketball and working on his game.
Davis is not yet a complete basketball player, but he and his family have overcome a number of setbacks already in his young life, and he has maintained a great attitude and perspective. With continued basketball improvement, Davis could become one of the top players for the Class of 2011.
James Quinn covers high school basketball for MDVarsity.com