What happens when two all-state freshmen team up?

It's rare for any freshman to be named all-state in Illinois boys high school basketball.

This year, there were two — Warren's Jaxson Davis and Bolingbrook's Davion Thompson.

Instead of building a rivalry, they've become friends and joined forces this summer, playing for MeanStreets in the Nike EYBL circuit. This weekend, they're playing at an event in Indianapolis where it's the first chance for college coaches to watch in person.

So far, this 15U team hasn't been unbeatable. MeanStreets lost a close one Saturday morning to Team Thad, the Memphis-based program sponsored by former Bulls forward Thad Young. But they're 2-1 on the weekend and will play once more on Sunday morning against Team Herro, the Wisconsin-based program of Miami's Tyler Herro. Games are streamed for free on the Nike EYBL website.

At the first EYBL tournament of the year in Memphis, the 6-foot-2 Thompson scored 47 points in one game, hitting 8 of 9 shots from 3-point range. He got offers from Michigan and Wake Forest after that event.

“The competition was definitely different,” Davis said before leaving for Indy. “Every game is a battle, no games come easy. Everybody out there to play, so you have to bring your game every single game.”

There is a history and some deep connections between the two all-state freshmen. They started playing together in sixth grade, when coach Brandin Brown invited Davis to join Thompson on the West suburban-based Flight Athletics team.

Brown had played AAU ball for Davis' father, Brian. They had a Rising Stars team that included Michael Jordan's son Jeff; former Warren star Ceola Clark and future Northwestern guard Michael Thompson.

“Brian, he's like a mentor to me,” Brown said. “So me having Davion, I reached out to him, 'Hey, I think Jaxson would be perfect to play with Davion. He's a kid on the same level, thinks the same way.' I would just say from Day 1, they just clicked. It's been magic ever since.”

They spent much of the 2021 and '22 summers playing together on Flight. The two players went their separate ways last year, had successful debuts in high school and decided to get back together.

Left to right, Jaxson Davis, coach Brandin Brown and Davion Thompson from sixth or seventh grade. Photo courtesy of the Davis family

“We've been playing with each other since we were kids,” Thompson said. “So we know what we like to do. As soon as we step on the court, everything is coming together. We have a good feel for each other on and off the court.”

One part of these high-level AAU teams is while building up the roster, creating chemistry can be a problem. Besides Davis and Thompson, MeanStreets 15U includes Josiah Harrington from Iowa, 6-8 Quincy Wright from the Detroit area, 6-4 Quinton Kitt from East Peoria and some players from the city like 6-7 Howard Williams from Whitney Young. With so many far-flung players, practice time is limited.

But since the two guards have a history of playing together, that's been a good start. Davis plays like someone who's studied former Stevenson star Jalen Brunson in the NBA. He's a savvy point guard who likes to control the action. As a result, Thompson plays off the ball more often.

“He's more of a shooting guard on our team, but he can run the point too,” Davis said of Thompson. “He hits shots at a high clip, off the dribble and standing. It makes my job way easier.”

Thompson scored 31 points last year against Metamora in the championship game of the Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament at York, while Davis led Warren to its first sectional title in more than a decade. Thompson had this to say about his Lake County counterpart.

“Jaxson's a cool dude. He's humble,” Thompson said. “He gets along with everybody. He's coachable. You know how some players think they know everything? Even though he's a high-caliber player, he still listens to everything the coaches say, even teammates.”

The summer AAU season will culminate with the renowned Peach Jam in Atlanta in mid-July. Maybe the best part of this story is Warren and Bolingbrook are set to play each other next season on Jan. 25 at Benet Academy.

Davis and Thompson will be friendly rivals once again.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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