2015 Sports in Review

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2015 Malibu Times Athlete of the Year Stacy Davis

Stacy Davis is making an impact both on and off the court. 

The Pepperdine men’s basketball player is recognized as someone eager to do volunteer work in both Malibu and abroad, all while climbing Pepperdine’s all-time hoops scoring list. 

Davis, 21, said he has the mindset of “one game at a time” when trying to balance basketball, school and goodwill work. 

“When I’m playing a basketball game, that is what I’m focused on,” he said. “Outside of basketball, there is school, and when I get the opportunity to make myself available to serve the community, that becomes my game. I don’t overwhelm myself.”

Many Malibu-associated athletes and teams excelled in various athletic venues during 2015, but Davis’ work on and off the hardwood netted him the title of 2015 Malibu Times Athlete of the Year. 

The Arizona native averaged 15.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest as he led the Waves to their best season in at least one decade last season and climbed into a three-point shot’s distance of becoming the top scorer in Pepperdine’s history. 

The Waves’ star begins the new year with 1,489 career points — 11th in Pepperdine history — after finishing the 2014-15 season with 1,307 points. Davis sits 212 points behind Pepperdine all-time leading scorer Dan Suttle’s 1,701 points.

The senior said he doesn’t go into games thinking about the scoring mark.

“It’s something I am striving for, but if I don’t reach the record, it’s not the end of the world,” Davis said. “It will be a great accomplishment if I do it.” 

Davis is known for his muscular-build, unselfishness and scoring in the paint on the court, but off the court, he is known for a wide range of community work. Last year, he fed the homeless both by himself and with teammates at The Midnight Mission in Los Angeles, visited local elementary schools to read to and play with kids, attended a NCAA student-athlete leadership conference and was featured in online PSA that speaks out against sexual assaults on college campuses.

Davis said since basketball has given him many opportunities in life, he feels a need to be a positive force away from the hardwood. 

“I want to be in a position to affect people’s lives in a way that not the average citizen can,” Davis explained, adding that leadership and community programs his parents — Stacy III and Felicia Davis — enrolled him in during teenage years planted the seeds of volunteer work in his life. “I think it is important for athletes to give back to the community.” 

Davis joined Athletes in Action (AIA) last summer for a tour through China. The group played against Chinese professional teams in order to show the joy that basketball can bring to communities and spread the gospel of Christianity. 

Davis was so moved by his experience that at the end of the two-week trip, he donated Pepperdine sports gear and what was left of his Chinese currency to AIA guides. 

“It was awesome to see how far faith can push people,” he said. 

Davis is averaging 14 points and eight rebounds per game for Pepperdine with their 7-6 record this season. He scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds in a 99-73 loss to West Coast Conference foe Gonzaga on Dec. 21, and registered eight points and six rebounds in a 72-66 loss to Portland two days before Christmas. 

Davis said the Waves will find their groove and get a shot at March Madness. 

“I think we will be the top two or three [seed] in conference,” he said.

Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson praised Davis. The coach said when Davis’ Pepperdine career is over, he will be known as one of the university’s greats. 

Davis is a two-time All-WCC team member and earned his third career WCC Player of the Week award last month — a Waves’ record.

Davis is a nominee for two off-the-court recognitions: the 2016 Allstate NABC Good Works Team, which recognizes men’s college basketball players for their community service achievements, and the Senior CLASS Award, presented to outstanding senior NCAA Division I student-athletes. 

Pepperdine athletics spokesperson Roger Horne said Davis is worthy of both honors due to his athletic and classroom accomplishments, high character and leadership skills.

“Student-athletes of his caliber only come around so often,” Horne said.

Coach Wilson also sung praises.

“His true character comes across with his sincere and caring conversations that he has with others,” Wilson said. 

Davis said he is eager to lead the Waves to their first berth in NCAA tournament before he graduates in the spring with a degree in organizational communications. He plans to play professional basketball after college.

“Making a career out of something you love is exciting,” Davis said. “It’s scary, too, because I don’t know where it’s going to happen, where it’s going to end up, but I’m just going to trust the process and enjoy the journey.”

Malibu standouts

Other notable athletic accomplishments in 2015 include the boys and girls Malibu High School (MHS) basketball teams snagging Frontier League titles on the way to the CIF playoffs, and the girls soccer team winning the Tri-Valley League title and three games in the two CIF postseason tournaments last spring. The boys water polo team qualified for the CIF playoffs last fall, one season after winning the CIF title. 

Cross country runners Claudia Lane and Abby Blackwood finished in the top 25 in the CIF state finals last month. Former Shark and 2014 Malibu Times Athlete of the Year Caroline Pietrzyk was named the SEC Freshman of the Year in November while running for Vanderbilt University. 

Swimmer Logan Hotchkiss — a 2015 MHS graduate — won four CIF championships, including two with the Sharks relay team last May. Malibu football wide receiver Indiana McAlpine ran for 385 yards and three touchdowns in the Sharks’ 38-26 win over Verbum Dei in October. 

Two Malibu natives — Jordan Wilimovsky and Natalie McGiffert — qualified to represent Team USA in the Summer Olympics in Brazil. Wilimovsky won gold in the 10K open water event at the 2015 World Championships in Russia, qualifying him for the Rio 2016 Olympics. McGiffert is part of the rhythmic gymnastics team that made the summer games due to a performance in World Championships in Germany.