Highlights of top 2013 recruit Kaela Davis of Buford High School. The 6-1 guard committed to Georgia Tech.
BUFORD, Ga. -- The midseason departure of one of the nation’s top prep players from her high school team took a new twist when Full Court received copies of a text message reportedly sent by Kaela Davis of Buford High School to her teammates indicating that she left the team due to a dispute with her coach.
Davis, ranked No. 3 in the Full Court Fresh 50 and a McDonald’s All-American, last played for Buford on Jan. 26, in a 44-40 loss to Wesleyan. When Davis did not appear in the team's next game, her absence from the team was unexplained.
Nearly two weeks later, on Feb. 9, an Atlanta television station first reported that Davis left the team due to health issues, and on Feb. 10, Kaela and her mother, Kendra Davis, told Full Court staff writer Bob Corwin that worsening symptoms of Ménière's disease were the reason she left the team. Ménière's disease, a condition that can cause hearing loss and severe vertigo, was reported as the reason for her departure from the team by Full Court, as well as several other media outlets, in reliance on the representations of the Davises.
Last week, however, a Jan. 31 text message from Kaela Davis to her Buford teammates was obtained by Full Court, which suggests that Davis left the team because of a dispute with Buford head coach Gene Durden, not because of her health.
The text message read, in part:
“I had an issue with Durden and we had a meeting and I spoke up about it and after the meeting he made it clear that everything was okay and we were good. The next day he told me I couldn’t play and at this point I just can’t trust him and I’m not comfortable with the situation anymore. With that said, I’m not playing anymore for the rest of the season.“
A source close to the team, who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of repercussions, provided Full Court with a copy of the group text message, claiming it came from Kaela Davis and was sent to 15 recipients affiliated with the Buford Lady Wolves. Full Court has confirmed the authenticity of the text message with multiple sources close to the team.
Coach Durden has yet to break his silence on the situation, despite repeated requests from Full Court for comment. The Buford team, considered one of the favorites to win the Georgia AAA state title with Davis in the lineup, lost to St. Pius X Catholic in the semifinals. Buford won the Georgia AA championship in 2010 and 2011, and lost in the AA finals in 2012.
Full Court also contacted the Davis family seeking their explanation of the text message. They did not confirm or deny the text message, but did produce a document dated Feb. 11, written by Buford principal Dr. Bitterman, which states:
“Kaela Davis is in excellent academic standing with Buford High School. She is on track for graduation. She is a young lady of character. Unfortunately, it is my understanding that due to medical reasons, she will not be able to finish out the season.“
Bitterman confirmed he did compose the letter at the request of the Davis family and faxed it to the McDonald’s All-American committee. However, he declined to state for the record whether he was aware of the text message at the time he wrote the letter.
Davis, the daughter of 12-year NBA veteran Antonio Davis, has signed to play with Georgia Tech next season after first verbally committing to Tennessee. The 6-1 guard, who won gold last summer as a member of USA Basketball's U17 World Championship team, is currently slated to play in the McDonald's All-American Game on April 3, in Chicago and the WBCA All-American Game on April 6, in New Orleans.
Note: Contributions to this story were made by Kelly Kline, Clay Kallam and Lee Michaelson.