It took an induction ceremony for Center Grove offensive lineman Nick Davis to learn specifics about his mom’s sports-playing past.
Not just that she was a good basketball player, but Indiana All-Star good.
The starting left guard on the Trojans’ Class 6A state football finalist, Davis, a 5-foot-10, 260-pound junior, is the son of the former Michelle Baker, a star point guard for the Franklin Community High School girls basketball team from 1983-87.
Michelle would go on to be named to the 1987 Indiana All-Stars Team.
Story continues below gallery
“It probably wasn’t until she got inducted into the (Indiana Basketball) Hall of Fame, which was when I was in the seventh grade,” Nick said, referring to the 2012 ceremony in which Michelle went in as a member of the Silver Anniversary Team honoring the 1987 All-Stars.
“Then it kind of clicked. So it wasn’t just a Franklin honor, that what she had done reached outside of this area and through the whole state.”
Nick admits his mom, 46, can still drain the perimeter jumper, but games of one-on-one basketball tend to favor him because of the size discrepancy.
Then again, Michelle wasn’t trying to dribble past Nick-sized opponents during her days in a Grizzly Cubs uniform.
A 5-3 scrapper capable of altering outcomes with hustle, dribbling skills, adhesive defense and a court savvy belying her years, Michelle was the floor general for two sectional champions and a regional titlist during the single-class era of girls basketball in Indiana.
The 1986-87 season proved particularly memorable, with Michelle averaging 13.8 points as the Cubs advanced to the championship game of the Ben Davis Semistate.
She completed her Franklin career with 753 points, 355 assists, 219 steals and 10 varsity letters, having also competed in cross-country, volleyball and track and field.
Michelle went on to play at Ball State University, finishing her career as a Cardinal in 1991 with 298 assists and a degree in elementary education.
Now employed as the director of adult education at Central Nine Career Center in Greenwood, Michelle is also a mom.
A proud one.
Michelle and her husband of 21 years, James, are parents to two children. Their daughter, Stephanie, is a freshman at Valparaiso University.
The couple wear identical No. 66 Center Grove football jerseys to every one of their son’s games and will again Saturday night when the unbeaten Trojans face 11-time state finalist Penn in the Class 6A title game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
It’s a setting sure to fray mom’s nerves far more than being instructed to break full-court pressure ever could.
“I don’t think I got nervous playing. As a parent, yes. I can tell when he’s going to pull when they’re lining up the way they line up. The nerve-wracking part on that is making sure he gets outside quick enough to make the block,” Michelle said.
“But am I nervous about him making the block? Not really. And I don’t worry he’s going to get hurt. I want him to understand how big these games are. I’ve told Nick not every athlete gets to experience these situations.”
Nick is definitely Michelle’s kid the way he’ll develop workouts at home during the offseason in order to make his body stronger and skills sharper.
Just as his mom wasn’t close to being her team’s tallest player, Nick is the shortest of Center Grove’s five starting offensive linemen.
“I think it’s being smaller and having to make up for it in other ways. Obviously I’m not 6-foot-5, 300 pounds, so I have to play a lot harder than the guys I play against. I think she had to, too. We have the same work ethic,” said Nick, who is able to bench-presses as much as 365 pounds and can squat 405.
“I would say it’s more of a mentality. It’s more how hard you want to work on a daily basis.”
Despite excelling in different sports during different eras, mother and son are connected in another way, according to Michelle.
“Nick is pretty easygoing until you push his buttons,” she said. “You can turn into a different person on the field or on the court. I think I did that, and I think Nick does that, too.”
THE DAVIS FILE
Name: Nick Davis
Family: Parents, James and Michelle; sister, Stephanie, 18
Favorite TV show: ESPN’s “30 for 30”
Favorite food: Nachos
Favorite movie: “Rocky IV”
Favorite athlete: Bo Jackson
Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts
What: Class 6A championship game
Who: No. 1 Center Grove (13-0) vs. No. 3 Penn (12-1)
When: 7:05 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis
Tickets: $15 per person (preschool children admitted with no charge)
Tickets available: At Center Grove High School athletic office (Door 3) from 9 a.m. to noon today; tickets also can be purchased at the gate.
Tailgate party: Information for a special tailgate party, dubbed “Trojan Town,” for Center Grove fans can be found online at gatetenevents.com.
TV: Fox Sports Indiana
Note: Because of increased security, the Indiana High School Athletic Association is advising all fans to travel lightly and arrive early.