After losing to Bowie State, a perennial doormat for perennial power Virginia Union University, the men's basketball team went on a run that Timothy Davis, a 6-foot-9 power forward, will never forget.
In March 1992, the team put the loss behind it and went on a winning spree that led to the national championship of NCAA's Division II. For Davis, who grew up with five brothers and three sisters in the notorious Blackwell housing projects, the championship only affirmed something his late father told him years before.
A concrete truck driver, Valroy Young died of cancer in 1989, just before Davis graduated from George Wythe High School.
“We didn't have a whole lot of money,” Davis says. “We lived in a two-bedroom apartment in Blackwell.” But his father told him to ignore it all, he recalls: “Don't ever stop dreaming, no matter what your surroundings look like.”
Davis, a family counselor, tries hard to impress the dream on his pupils — mostly inner-city youth with legal troubles, anger-management problems and attention-deficit disorders. “It's our duty and our job to let these kids dream,” says Davis, who started his firm, Family Maintenance Counseling, three years ago. “Without knowing a dream, there is no hope.”
Basketball? Davis parlayed his career at Union into an education and an overseas professional hoops career. He's played in Germany, Yugoslavia, London and even Brazil, where he lived in Rio de Janeiro. Just imagine: A kid who grew up in the projects living and playing basketball in Rio.
“That's where it all starts,” he says, “It starts with a dream.”