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Former AU star continues career in Spain

Former+AU+mens+basketball+player+Wendell+Davis+drives+on+a+defender+in+his+first+game+with+Pardinyes.
Former AU mens basketball player Wendell Davis drives on a defender in his first game with Pardinyes.

Former AU mens basketball player Wendell Davis drives on a defender in his first game with Pardinyes.

Submitted by Wendell Davis

Submitted by Wendell Davis

Former AU mens basketball player Wendell Davis drives on a defender in his first game with Pardinyes.

Paul Murray

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On Tuesday, Sept. 25, Wendell Davis scored 15 points and dished out six assists. It was a good
game for Davis, the 15 points were big for his team but the assist numbers were what he was
most proud about. He loves getting his teammates involved.

But this game was different for Davis.

Davis was not playing in Kates Gymnasium, a place where he thrived, a place where he averaged
over 18 points per game. He was not playing against a neighboring GLIAC school like he had
done for the last four years of his career. He was not even playing in the United States.

Davis was playing overseas professional basketball, in the town of Lleida, located in central
Spain.

Upon graduation from Ashland University, Wendell Davis knew he wanted to play professional
basketball. He knew he wanted to continue his career. He knew he could do more. But how?

He hired an agent and awaited calls from teams. His agent had close connections in Spain, and
for months Davis had talks with teams about the potential of him coming to play for their
organization. All of them fell through.

As the summer was coming to a close, Davis finally got the call. Pardinyes, a team in the EBA
league of Spain wanted the 6-foot-6-inch forward from Ashland University to fly out and play basketball for their team.

“I had a lot of calls, a lot of talks over the summer with spanish leagues but I didn’t get any
Offers,” Davis said. “Then I got the call and within a couple days I was packing to fly out. At the end of the day, no matter how good you are you will always have something to prove.”

Davis was ready to prove himself as soon as he got that call. He was ready to get on the court
and show the European world what kind of player he was. But first he had to get there.

On the flights over to Spain, Davis was delayed for an entire day due to hurricane Florence. He
joked how he was late to his first day of practice.

“On the way over to Spain, I had three flights. My first flight was delayed here in the states, so
when I landed in the UK I had already missed my connecting flight to Spain,” Davis said. “Luckily the team was able to put me up in a hotel for the night until I could get on another plane. I had just joined the team and I’m already late.”

Once Davis arrived, the team brought him in and had him go through physical examinations, your normal sport physical. Once Davis was cleared to play the real physical test began, his first practice. Just two days after getting off the plane.

“I’m not going to lie, I was gassed after that first practice,” Davis said. “From training on my own over the summer to all the traveling I had just done, my body wasn’t ready. But I kept pushing. And the team noticed. The coaches kept saying ‘good job, good job’, and I feel like it was because I kept going. I didn’t want to come over here and not put in the work, I wanted to prove myself.”

Proving himself is something that Wendell Davis has been accustomed to. Just before entering
his senior season at AU, Davis suffered a knee injury that would sideline him for the rest of the season. Davis took an injury redshirt that would allow him to come back for one more year.

AU Athletics
Davis brings the ball up in his final season as an Eagle.

John Ellenwood, head coach of AU’s men’s basketball program, had told Davis that on return to the team his role would change. His first three seasons at AU, Davis had played primarily as a power forward. Coming back to the team, Ellenwood needed Davis to be able to space the floor and play nearly every position on the court.

“Coming back from an ACL injury alone is tough for an athlete, but Wendell came back
Stronger,” Ellenwood said. “He was able to adjust to the new team and help at any and every position. From point guard, shooting guard to power forward, he did it all.”

This ability to adapt and play nearly every position is what makes Davis such a dangerous
player and an asset to his new team.

“Basketball is evolving to a positionless game, and Wendell has become just that,” Ellenwood said. “He will do whatever needs to be done in order to help his team. He is a total team player who can make any pass to get his teammates involved or make the shot when the team needs it most.”

The Pardinyes team is expecting big things from Wendell Davis, some of which he displayed in
his first game of professional basketball. Just five days after getting of the plane.

“Coach was satisfied with my first game, he knew I was going to be able to produce for the team,” Davis said. “The 15 points were good and I had six assist. But he expects more, he wants me to be the leader of the team and be the guy people can count on.”

Being the leader of the team is something that Davis did at Ashland and something he is
comfortable with. But being a leader without speaking the same language is just another
challenge he is willing to accept.

“The coach speaks some english. Oftentimes he will be talking to the team about practice and it
will all be in Spanish,” Davis said. “Some of the players will have to come over and translate what he said just so I can get some sort of understanding.”

The language barrier and the cultural difference is like playing a zone defense for Davis. Once
you make a couple of passes, get your teammates involved, you are able to break that zone.

“It’s been a constant grind, trying to learn the culture and embracing the change,” Davis said. “I’ve visited various famous buildings and learning more and more words everyday. The one thing I remember from high school Spanish class is to use your manners. I say ‘gracias’ after everything. I don’t want to be that disrespectful American that comes to their country, I want to respect their culture.”

This decision to play professionally in Spain is more than just a basketball decision. Davis is
now miles apart from his friends and family, and in a completely different part of the world. But
this sacrifice, to be away from everyone you know and love, is what he feels is what makes
you great.

“Coach Wood use to always say ‘to be someone you’ve never been, you have to do something
you’ve never done,’ and that’s what I’m doing here.” Davis said.

Davis and the Pardinyes team will compete from now until March. He hopes to play
well throughout the season and continue playing basketball overseas. Whatever it takes and whatever sacrifices he has to make.

“These sacrifices are what make you great. Getting out of your comfort zone, learning a new
language, a new style of life,” Davis said. “These are they types of things that make you a better and stronger person.”

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