The date was February 25, 2002. Paideia School sophomore Sparkle Davis unofficially jumped out of the recruiting race by giving an early commitment to the University of Georgia.
"When Sparkle makes up her mind she doesn't let it turn (around)," said Jonathan Davis to the Athens Banner-Herald. Yet six months later, Sparkle's father and summer AAU coach would soon realize what makes dealing with teenagers so interesting.
Or, is that confusing?
"One thing that I have found out is that I've been married 17 years and I'm now with dealing with teenagers," Davis recently told us regarding his teenaged daughter.
"Anything is possible."
By the end of the summer, Sparkle had jumped back into the recruiting race.
"Well, I thought that was true at the time," Davis said about his daughters then firm commitment to Georgia, "but by the end of summer she said she wanted to keep her options open and wanted to visit other schools and coaches to make sure that she was making the right decision."
Sparkle knew most college coaches wouldn't touch a committed player, so she called the University of Georgia coaches and decommitted.
Following the decommitment, Jonathan began calling and emailing schools Sparkle wanted contacted. On that list was Purdue.
"Purdue was one of the ones that she was most interested in," said Davis. "Coach Curry and Coach Stackhouse also have express a lot of interest in her." Sparkle has been told she is one of the staff's top three guard choices for the class of 2004. A list of top choices Purdue head coach Kristy Curry calls her "A+" list.
Sparkle Davis, a 5'10 guard from Paideia Prep, functions as the primary ball handler and scorer for the college preparatory arts and technology school in Atlanta, Georgia where he father is the boys varsity coach. Davis helped Paideia to the state championship game in 2002, where they fell to top-ranked and two-time state champ Greater Atlanta Christian 55-43.
Davis averaged 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists as a sophomore. An accomplished defender, Davis also averaged five steals per game. Paideia's pressure on the ball forced 19 turnovers in the state semifinal game, where Davis led all scorers with 22 points. She hit a driving layup at the buzzer to insure the 50-48 victory.
A Street & Smith honorable mention all-american before her sophomore season, Davis was invited to attend the Adidas All-Star Camp this past July for the second consecutive year. Her sophomore honors include first team all-state, region and area MVP, and county Player-of-the-Year.
The Davis family would like to make an unofficial visit to campus in the near future. Distance is not a problem according to Davis. The family has relatives in Indiana, especially around the Fort Wayne area. Coach Curry is also scheduled to pay another evaluation visit to Atlanta soon to see Sparkle in a practice setting. Division I coaches are allowed a total of 40 evaluation days they can use during the current NCAA evaluation period. The latest evaluation period began on Tuesday and runs through February 28, 2003.
Additional schools on Sparkle's lengthy early list include Maryland, Georgia, West Virginia, Michigan State, Rutgers, Auburn, Ole Miss, South Florida, ODU, TCU, Rice, Seton Hall, Florida, FSU, Alabama, Louisville, Iowa, and Michigan.
"And others," added Jonathan Davis. "She is in the early beginnings of looking, but is trying to get more information on a lot of schools and their degrees."
And schools know she is again looking. Within the past month, Davis estimates Sparkle has received 50 overnight packages and 110 emails from programs across the nation, to add to the two large boxes of regularly delivered mail that continues to pour in. Faxes to her high school come in daily, indicating more than just an interest in her athletic abilities.
Sparkle holds a 3.35 GPA at an academically challenging school. Already in her fourth year of foreign language as a junior, she is beginning to take college preparatory classes.
"As of now she is open but is loving the interest that Purdue is giving her," said Davis. "They are one of her top choices."