Former Ashland University men's basketball standout Wendell Davis recently signed a professional contract with Team Pardinyes Lleida in the EBA Spanish League.
Davis, a three-time all-region performer at Ashland and one of the program's all-time greatest players, has already arrived in Spain and joined his teammates to begin the season. He is the first American to ever play for Team Pardinyes Lleida.
"It's been a really quick process," said Davis. "I thought I would have an offer sometime earlier in the summer, but this is a great opportunity for me and I'm excited to show what I can do."
Davis left Ashland ranking second in program history in points (1,939) and third in rebounding (769). He was the GLIAC South Player of the Week more than 50 percent (8-of-14) of the weeks in his senior season, ranking second in the GLIAC in scoring (20.3) and fourth in assists per game (3.6).
Davis also displayed remarkable efficiency, shooting 53 percent from the floor, 45 percent from the 3-point line and 80 percent from the charity stripe.
After missing the 2016-17 season with an offseason knee injury, Davis persevered and transformed his game. In his time at Ashland, he spent time on the block, on the wing, as the point guard and as a primary scorer and distributor.
After making just 40 3-pointers in his first three seasons, Davis sank 83 triples as a senior, ranking second in the conference. It's that versatility that will prove vital as his game transitions to the professional level.
"With what I was able to do at Ashland, being the point guard last year, playing some 2-guard, working in the post, knocking down threes, I got a lot of experience doing different things that will help me when I get there," said Davis.
For now, the focus is getting acclimated to a new culture and adjusting to a new style of game, teammates and coaches.
"I've done some research about the city," Davis said. "Lleida is a small city. I'm just excited to get over there, get acclimated and start playing."
Ashland head coach John Ellenwood, who has known Davis since he began the recruiting process, said Davis' club will be thrilled with what it sees in the AU all-time great.
"It will be tough to find a leader better than Wendell Davis," he said. "I know how happy his coach is going to be, because he's not only getting a great basketball player, but he's getting a person that can change a culture. He can bring that anywhere. Whoever his coach is will be excited when he gets to know Wendell."
For Davis, playing basketball professionally has been a dream, but it's not a short-term one. He plans on doing it for as long as possible, and with continued improvement to his game, he hopes to climb the ladder in European basketball.
"I want to play as long as I can, eight to 10 years," he said. "Playing in Spain is a great opportunity. The basketball there is really good with really good competition. Eventually I want to work my way up and be playing in the top league in Spain in 3-4 years."