CINCINNATI – Darren Davenport would always appreciate a conversation about basketball.
He enjoyed coaching, directing, and helping young student athletes in the greater Cincinnati area of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) competition. He had friends everywhere.
“He was just a great man,” said Deer Park soccer coach Calvin Johnson. “I don’t know you could find a nicer person.”
However, it was Davenport’s family that meant everything to him.
Davenport, a former Mount Healthy basketball star in the 1980s and the father of the University of Cincinnati second security guard Jeremiah Davenport, died early Monday. He was 55 years old.
“Darren’s death is a huge loss to the Cincinnati basketball community,” said Woodward basketball coach Paul McMillan III.
“His family is the first basketball family in Cincinnati. His legacy is a strong man of God who loved his family and touched so many lives through basketball.”
Darren Davenport and wife Sheila have five children who have played high-level basketball, including four in NCAA Division I competition.
McMillan and his son, Woodward 2022 point guard Paul McMillan IV, went to the gym on Sunday night playing with Jeremiah and his older brother Josh while Darren sat and watched. Darren died hours later.
“We send all of our love and support to Jeremiah and his family as they cope with this tragic loss,” the UC Sports Department said in a statement. “We will do everything we can to support them during this difficult time.”
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Davenport, a 1984 graduate of Mount Healthy, played at Alcorn State and later Northern Kentucky University, according to Adair Carmichael, the Mount Healthy boys’ basketball coach.
Davenport’s athleticism was the talk of the town at school and elsewhere during his playing time. His dunks were known.
“He’s considered one of the best basketball players on Mount Healthy and in town,” said Carmichael. “He was one of the first big guards. Darren was 6-5 and he could play all five positions and play it well.”
Davenport later remained involved in the game in every possible way. He trained in the AAU program of the Queen City Prophets. He served for several years, including last weekend.
Johnson had just directed several junior high school basketball games with Davenport on April 3rd.
The longtime friends chatted about the Cincinnati sports landscape between Saturday’s games and remembered their game days.
Johnson noted that Davenport stayed a little longer to catch up with the gymnast.
That irony was not lost on Johnson after receiving a phone call Monday morning about Davenport’s death.
“Just a shock,” said Johnson. “It hit me like a ton of rocks. I was dazed all morning.”
The Cincinnati basketball community expressed condolences on Monday morning and afternoon on social media and shared memories of Darren Davenport.
Moeller trainer Carl Kremer enjoyed training Michael, Josh and Jeremiah. He remembers Darren’s commitment to the family.
“He was an incredibly supportive parent,” said Moeller coach Carl Kremer. “All three kids were great to train. It’s just a terrible loss.”
Darren Davenport’s wife, Sheila, played in Morehead State. Your daughters played basketball.
Naomi played at Mount Notre Dame and later West Virginia, while Deborah is an up and coming senior at Woodward.
“What I remember most is the love (Darren) had for his family and for Naomi and Deborah,” Kremer said. “His family was the first, and he loved basketball and helped children out.”
Covington Catholic basketball coach Joe Fredrick said Darren Davenport was loved by everyone who knew him.
“He was such a great guy,” said Fredrick. “In the basketball community, we’ve always said he’s the GOAT of Cincinnati basketball, if you look at their kids and what they’ve achieved. Any kid who plays Division I basketball is unheard of. And that’s how he did it where he was. A man of faith. He was such a classmate. “
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