JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The pick is in and Rennia Davis is a part of area history.
Davis, the 6-2 wing from Ribault High and the University of Tennessee, became the highest local player selected in the WNBA draft when she was the ninth pick by the Minnesota Lynx on Thursday night.
It was a moment worth celebrating.
Coaches from every stage of Davis’ career arc made the draft party. Former Ribault teammates were there. Family members couldn’t have been prouder. Had the pandemic not altered the structure of most professional drafts over the past year, Davis would have likely been on-site for the WNBA selection show. But the virtual format meant she got to share the moment with everyone around.
“COVID it is what it is,” Davis said of the virtual draft format due to the pandemic. “Because if I would have had to fly to New York or something, just would have probably been just me and my mom. So, I wouldn’t have gotten the full experience of just having everybody that I love and care about here. I’m excited for this.”
Only twice before have local players been taken in the WNBA draft, Ribault’s Erica White (17th to Houston in 2008) and Keystone Heights’ Monique Cardenas (53rd to Portland in 2002). In the South Georgia region, Charlton County grad Courtney Williams was eighth overall in 2016 to Phoenix.
Davis went a little later than expected. Most mocks had her inside the top five. But that didn’t matter in the end. Davis is headed to the WNBA, a dream of hers since she first picked up a basketball at 9 years old.
And she got to share the moment at a packed clubhouse on Jacksonville’s Northside with just about everyone who has played a part in her life, from high school and AAU coaches, to former Ribault teachers.
When the pick was announced, the room erupted in celebration. Davis danced around the room with family. Seconds later, the Duval chant broke out. Davis’ mother, Sheretta, said that the night was the combination of never giving up and hard work.
“It’s the dream of a lifetime. You’ve got to follow your dreams,” she said.
Davis became a Ribault icon in her four-year high school career, winning three state championships, a Miss Basketball award, and garnering McDonald’s and Jordan Brand Classic All-American honors. Davis continued that production in college.
She started 116 games and played in 118 during her career in Knoxville. She averaged 15.4 points and eight rebounds per game in her career. Davis ranks ninth in Tennessee history in career scoring (1,815) and 10th in rebounds (947).
“I’m not going to call it stressful. I’m just grateful and appreciative of Minnesota for seeing something in me and taking me at nine and just ready to get to work,” Davis said.
“It was relieving to say the least. I was excited I’ve been ready since the first name was called. I’ve been ready to hear my name called. It was exciting.”