SPOKANE — As Eastern Washington guard Jacob Davison prepared to inbound the ball near Weber State’s bench earlier this season, a voice inquired about the Boy Scouts of America insignia tattooed on his left arm.
“A player, I don’t who it was, asked ‘Hey, are you an Eagle Scout?’” Davison said. “‘Because I am, too.’
“It was cool that someone was able to recognize that. Other than earning a Division I scholarship, becoming an Eagle Scout is one the biggest accomplishments of my life.”
EWU’s high-scoring sophomore is establishing himself as one of the premier talents in the Big Sky Conference, averaging nearly 24 points the past eight games for the Eagles (9-15, 7-6 Big Sky), who face rival Idaho (4-20, 1-12) today at 4:15 p.m. at Reese Court.
Davison, who poured in a career-high 41 points on Feb. 4 in an 82-64 win over Northern Arizona, often uses his explosive vertical leap to get to the rim and is just as menacing from 3-point range.
But for all of his hoops-related praise, Davison is just as proud to be among the 4 percent of Boy Scout members to earn the 109-year-old organization’s highest rank and achievement.
From the time he first donned the club’s neckerchief at age 7 to earning his 21st merit badge a decade later, Davison points to the spectrum of skills he learned in helping shape who he is today.
Emergency preparedness. Community service. Environmental science. Physical fitness. Davison, an avid outdoorsman, had to check off a couple of dozen requirements before a review process to earn the same Eagle Scout pin as astronaut Neil Armstrong and ex-President Gerald Ford.
Few high-level basketball players have earned the distinction.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart — the former Villanova star drafted in 2017 — is the most recent example. He’s one of just three Eagle Scouts to ever reach the Final Four.
Like Hart, though, Davison wanted to quit Boy Scouts to focus on basketball at Cantwell-Sacred Heart High School near Los Angeles, where Davison was named the Whittier Daily News Player of the Year.
Like Hart, he was pushed by his father to stick it out.
“I had taken a six-month break from (Boy Scouts) and I really just wanted to focus on basketball,” Davison said. “But my dad reminded me that I had already come this far, and that it would be a big accomplishment. I’m glad he did. Now whenever I see Cub Scouts selling stuff at the grocery story or walking around, I always tell them to stick with it, because it’s definitely worth it.”
After suffering a pair of injuries that ultimately slowed him down earlier this season, Davison stuck through the healing process.
He was involved in a car accident in California last summer that resulted in a torn ligament in his wrist that required surgery. When he was cleared to participate in team workouts last fall, he suffered a severe ankle sprain.
Before the injuries, Davison was coming off a freshman season where he was big for EWU in the postseason, averaging 16 points in Big Sky Conference tournament semifinal and title games.
Second-year EWU head coach Shantay Legans said in September that he believed Davison was his team’s best scorer, but Davison missed the Eagles’ first two games at Syracuse and Oregon recovering from injury.
After scoring 25 points at North Dakota State in December, Davison said he began feeling like he did last season, and has since been the primary threat for EWU.
“Before he got into a car accident and sprained his ankle, he was looking like he has been lately,” Legans said. “I am hoping he’s playing that way down the stretch when it really matters.”
However, the injury bug bit Davison again in Saturday’s 88-78 overtime win over Northern Colorado.
Midway through the second half, Davison injured his ankle again and didn’t return. He was on crutches after the game. His status for Monday’s game against Idaho is uncertain.
“He’s got a weird body and recovers fast, so we’ll see,” Legans said.
Legans said Davison has the potential to be the next in EWU’s lineage of great scorers, a list that includes Bogdan Bliznyuk, EWU’s all-time leading scorer who graduated last spring, former NBA veteran Rodney Stuckey and Tyler Harvey, who led the nation in scoring in 2015.
Davison grew up around Harvey — a second-round NBA Draft pick now playing for the Memphis Hustle of the G-League — and influenced decision to sign with Eastern in 2016.
EWU was the first Division I school to offer to Davison, he said, before Pepperdine, UC Irvine and Loyola Marymount showed interest.
“(Harvey) made me feel like this is a place that I could call home, and that I could grow to the player that I want to be and that the coaches know I can be,” Davison said. “So I took the opportunity, and I haven’t looked back since.”