Stephen Davis isn’t moving too far from home.
And that’s just fine with him.
After a successful varsity career with the Santa Barbara High boys basketball team, Davis is taking his talents to Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks after signing his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday.
Davis is joined at the four-year level by fellow Dons Moki Nacario, Mikayla Thoits and Lucca Scibird, who all signed their National Letters of Intent to play their respective sports at the next level. Nacario — a three-sport standout at Santa Barbara High — will take his track talents to the University of Redlands; Thoits will play soccer at Eastern Oregon University; and Scibird will continue her soccer career at UC Santa Cruz.
“I committed to UC Santa Cruz for many reasons, from its beautiful location in the scenic redwoods overlooking the Pacific Ocean, to its great mathematics department and computer science programs,” Scibird said. “I know I will be academically challenged and have a great support system from my teammates on the UCSC women’s soccer team.
“I had an immediate connection with coach (Lauren) Nadler, as well as a spiritual connection to the environment fostered at this university.”
Davis helped lead the Dons to the CIF-Southern Section semifinals in 2018-19, and the second round of the 2019-20 CIF-Southern Section playoffs.
He averaged 12.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game for Santa Barbara this past season.
“I can’t remember the last time my parents missed one of my games,” Davis said when asked about staying close to home. “The ability for them to come to my games and for me being able to come home and see them often, was a huge factor with my college decision.”
Among the other schools pursuing the talented point guard was Westmont College. Davis said he considered becoming a Warrior, but felt Cal Lutheran made a stronger push in the end.
“I applied to (Westmont) and got in,” Davis said. “It was just that they weren’t recruiting me as hard as Cal Lu, so it pretty much came down to where I felt more comfortable.”
Santa Barbara came one win away from making it to the CIF-Southern Section finals during Davis’ junior season, and got tripped up on a controversial call in the second round of this year’s Southern Section tournament.
Davis said he will always have a close relationship with his teammates, with whom he enjoyed so much success.
“I can really call every single one of them my best friend,” he said. “They made me feel welcomed at all times. I never felt like I was by myself out there.
“They always had my back and I’ve always had theirs. It’s just a great environment Santa Barbara High School has with its sports.”
Nacario also played varsity basketball as well as football and track and field.
The senior standout was an exceptional wide receiver on a Dons’ football team that made it to the CIF-Southern Section championship game in November, and nearly pulled off a thrilling victory over Sunny Hills. Although he was exceptional on the football field and the basketball court, Nacario felt track and field at the University of Redlands was his best opportunity.
“Football was always an option for me, but I felt I mostly improved in track, so I felt track would be the best option for me in college,” he said. “I got looked at by more colleges for track, so I figured that track would be my option or my choice.”
Nacario’s specialities on the track include the long jump, where he registered a jump of 21 feet, 9 inches as a junior. His senior season was wiped out by the coronavirus. Nacario also participates in the 100, 200 and various relay teams.
“Having the season canceled was really disappointing for me because I had just gotten back from basketball, so I only got to do one track meet this year.”
He’ll have plenty more at the collegiate level in Redlands.
Another Santa Barbara standout performer, Connor Lambe, had yet to decide at press time. Lambe, a goalkeeper for the boys soccer team, was considering Oregon State along with some other programs.