Davenport North High School officials have turned to one of its former players to lead its boys’ basketball program.
Pending school board approval, Marquez Davis — a 2007 graduate of North — will succeed Marc Polite as the school’s next head coach.
Polite left North this spring for the head coaching position at Rock Island High School. Davis has spent the past two seasons as an assistant under Polite.
“How can I continue to keep the ship rolling?” Davis said. “I want to keep what coach Polite has built the last two years in place, continue to keep rolling and make a positive and great impact in kids’ lives.”
North was 29-15 the past two seasons, including a run to the Class 4A state tournament in Polite’s first year.
After his playing career at North, Davis spent two seasons at Southeastern Community College in Burlington, transferred to Division II Lincoln University in Missouri and finished his final year of college basketball playing for Ray Shovlain at St. Ambrose University.
He was drafted in the fourth round of the American Basketball League, a semipro league, and played a little more than a season for the Corpus Christi Clutch before knee injuries halted his career.
“I had a lot of chances to play for great people and great basketball minds that helped not only mold my game but me as a person,” Davis said. “I want to pass that on now.”
Davis was an assistant coach at Black Hawk College under Darren Bizarri for a season before joining Polite at North.
This will be the 32-year-old’s first head coaching gig.
“I’m excited and honored for it to be at my alma mater,” Davis said. “I’m as ready for it as I can be. Over the past couple of years, we’ve faced so much adversity, especially with COVID last year and then coming onto the staff late the year before.
“Everything I’ve learned in the past few years, a big part of that is from Marc. I’m a disciple of Marc Polite and his coaching tree. I was drawn to Marc from the beginning. He has an electric personality and is more than a mentor figure. He’s a big brother to me.”
Davis, whose full-time job is as a residential real estate investor, told Polite he had interest in becoming a head coach a couple seasons ago.
“He’s one of the people that really believed in me from Day 1,” Davis said. “I got a great head start a lot of other new coaches may not get.”
North activities director Jeremy Mosier sees Davis as a good fit.
"Not only is he passionate about basketball and North High School, he is determined to use basketball as the vehicle to help mold his players into quality, productive young men," Mosier stated.
Davis, still in the process of finalizing his staff, has been running most of North’s open gym workouts since late April. The team has participated in the St. Ambrose summer basketball league.
The Wildcats graduated their top two scorers in Jayden Houston and Quincy Wiseman, but Davis said the cupboard is not bare.
Mike Lowery (almost 8 points per game) and sophomore-to-be Kyle Lamonte are among the prominent pieces returning for the Wildcats. Junior Nolan Mosier and senior Cade Guinn also played in 18 games a season ago.
“I’m very excited about our talent level, especially the guys we have coming back,” Davis said. “I’m excited more so about the young kids — the incoming freshmen and sophomores and junior class.”
Being Davis isn’t far removed from his playing days, he believes he can connect well to the individuals he’ll be coaching.
“I’m Davenport through and through, so I’m able to relate to a lot of these kids in a closer way others might not be able to,” Davis said. “The kids have responded to it well.
“I want to be a big-brother figure and an authoritarian they can respect but also someone who has been through the same battles and struggles they have had to endure. I’m really excited for this opportunity.”