One of the most celebrated athletes in the history of Lewis County High School, Ralph Davis, Jr., will be honored and have his number retired Friday evening between games of the girl-boy doubleheader featuring the hosts against division foe Russell. (The girls game is scheduled to tip at 6 p.m. and both games will played in the old gymnasium at the high school.)
Davis, a 1956 graduate, scored 1,810 points during his career in Vanceburg before moving on to the University of Cincinnati and the National Basketball Association.
He was an all-district selection for three years as a Lion, and averaged 26.4 points and 18 rebounds per game as a senior. He was also named second team all-state by the Courier-Journal and played in two all-star games following his senior campaign.
Davis was an honor student at Lewis County and UC, and he had a memorable career as a Bearcat, playing alongside Oscar Robertson in the backcourt.
During his three seasons as a varsity player at UC, the team compiled a remarkable 79-9 record and played in a pair of Final Fours. Davis was named All-Missouri Valley Conference three times, was twice named an honorable mention All-American, and was selected to the Converse All-American second team as a senior.
He was the first guard in UC history to top the 1,000-point mark and won the most valuable player award in the All-American game played in Madison Square Garden following his senior season. That game featured future hall of famers Jerry West, Lenny Wilkens and Robertson.
Davis was the 17th pick of the 1960 NBA draft by the Cincinnati Royals and played one season for the Royals before moving on to the Chicago Packers, where he started 77 games and averaged 10.4 points per game in the 1961-62 season. Davis scored 1,195 points and played in 150 NBA games before he retired from professional basketball during the 1962 exhibition season.
Davis was inducted into the Greater Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998.