Bremerton's Davis teaching life lessons through basketball

·3 min read
Coach Miah Davis runs his Commit 360 basketball players through footwork drills at Bremerton High on Friday, July 1, 2022.
Coach Miah Davis runs his Commit 360 basketball players through footwork drills at Bremerton High on Friday, July 1, 2022.

Taking a break during a two-hour training session with his Commit 360 basketball program Friday evening at Bremerton High School, Miah Davis found a seat and found some time for introspection.

Davis has been a high school and college basketball star, earned a living as a professional player overseas, and returned home to his community to raise a family and become head coach of Bremerton's boys varsity team.

Now age 41, Davis feels like he's still learning about himself — and learning about what's most important in life.

"It's like a big ball of yarn, my life," he said. "I'm trying to pull it apart and see it all make sense."

Davis has never needed to wonder about his passion for basketball or his desire to teach the game. Commit 360 is entering its sixth year of operation and Davis enjoys collaborating with assistant coaches JacQuan McWhorter and Larry Williams. Yet over the past year, Davis felt the urge to expand the scope of the program beyond the hardwood. Commit 360 couldn't just be about player training and travel tournaments.

Commit360 basketball players warm up during practce at Bremerton High on Friday, July 1, 2022.
Commit360 basketball players warm up during practce at Bremerton High on Friday, July 1, 2022.

"Basketball is only going to take them so far," Davis said. "Some of them may go further than high school, but if they don't know who they are, then it's all worth nothing."

The second part of Commit 360's name, listed on its website, describes its primary mission: Student-Athlete Physical and Mental Education. Starting in the spring, Davis began organizing weekly presentations on non-basketball-related topics. The presentations are interactive as players take notes in journals and answer questions posed by coaches.

Davis said for a presentation on character building, players split into groups and were asked to design basketball shoes and assign positive character traits to different parts of the shoe. Another presentation made players aware of the importance of personal hygiene, from changing socks and showering to wearing deodorant and brushing teeth.

There are other topics on Davis' to-do list, including self-esteem, self-confidence and etiquette. With Commit 360 players ranging in age from rising third-graders to rising high school freshmen, Davis said there's value in teaching about subjects that will help children mature into young adults.

"I've learned a lot of good stuff," said Aleo Toves, one of Commit 360's rising ninth-graders. "Just about being a better person in society."

Commit 360 assistant coach JacQuan McWhorter leads young players in a ball-handling drill.
Commit 360 assistant coach JacQuan McWhorter leads young players in a ball-handling drill.

Goal-setting is another important topic Davis believes can positively effect a player, both off the hardwood and on it. Davis still has a paper listing goals that he set for himself as a senior at the University of Pacific.

"Everything I put down on that paper ... came true," he said. "Big West player of the year, me taking my team to the (NCAA) tournament, being a better leader in film sessions, talking to my coaches more."

One of Davis' future goals is adding a girls Commit 360 component (right now, Davis has roughly 25 boys in the program). Another goal is seeing his players become involved in community outreach projects. Davis said Bremerton alum Marvin Williams has expressed the desire to assist in Commit 360's efforts.

On the court this summer, Davis is proud of Commit 360's performance. With seventh- and eighth-grade teams, Davis figures they've won roughly 80% of their games. While the victories are nice, Davis stressed that he's out to make sure his athletes can succeed when their playing days are all over.

"Everything I've gained over the years, it's kind of like I'm passing the torch," Davis said. "I can't sit on this. I've got to make sure they know how to maneuver throughout their life."

This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: Miah Davis turning hoops into habits that help kids for a lifetime