The 5-foot-8, 155-pound freshman forward from La Verne, Calif., came to UNO after a standout season with Wenatchee of the North American Hockey League. Davis has appeared in 14 games for the Mavs, recording his first career point with an assist in a Feb. 1 win over St. Cloud State.
Q: How do you pronounce your first name?
A: It’s JOHN-o.
Q: I assume that’s a nickname, right? Where did you get it?
A: It’s a nickname, my real name is Jonathan. It started when I was about 8 years old playing roller hockey. My coach was European and he couldn’t really say Jonathan, so he called me June-o. From there it turned into Jono.
Q: I know a lot of California guys start out playing roller hockey; was it hard to find a way to start playing ice hockey?
A: It wasn’t that difficult. We’d played roller hockey and a couple of my friends started playing ice hockey and said I should try it out. I started (ice hockey) when I was about 11 and it took off from there. The farthest I really had to go to play was Los Angeles, about 45 minutes depending on traffic. When I was 16, I moved to Colorado to play, a better opportunity with more experience.
Q: What’s life like in La Verne?
A: It’s pretty nice. It’s an older town, kind of laid back. It’s just nice.
Q: Do you know much about any of La Verne’s famous natives, like (actress) Jessica Alba, (boxer) Shane Mosley or (1940s college football star) Glenn Davis?
A: (Mosley) lives up in the hills kind of close to me, maybe five minutes away.
Q: I know you’re a little older than (UNO teammate) Austin Ortega, but being from California and having played in Colorado, did you ever run across him growing up?
A: When we were in Colorado we played against each other a lot. He was in Denver and I was in Colorado Springs. Then we were teammates for a little while with Cedar Rapids (in the USHL). We got real close even though we were only teammates for a short amount of time.
Q: After the USHL you went to the NAHL with Wenatchee (where he had 32 goals and 29 assists in 59 games) and played for (former Lancers coach and UNO assistant) Bliss Littler. How was that experience?
A: I loved it there, and I’ve got nothing but great things to say about it. Bliss helped me a lot. He treated me great. He was basically the one who helped me commit here. I just listened to him.
Q: If not UNO, where would you be?
A: Probably St. Cloud State or Connecticut. RPI called me. I’d talked to a lot of schools. I was going to commit to St. Cloud State two years ago, but they wanted me to wait (to join the program) and I didn’t want to do that.
Q: Last weekend against St. Cloud State your line had a great shift (Justin Parizek scored a goal on Davis’ assist), but then you got a game misconduct on the next shift (for a check from behind). So it went from high to low pretty quickly, right?
A: Me and (James) Polk and Parizek really had a lot of chemistry going. But then I hit the guy from behind — he kind of turned, but the ref said he had to call it because of the emphasis on safety.
Q: With just one point so far, I imagine you were expecting some bigger things during your freshman season?
A: I’ve kind of struggled, but lately I’ve been playing my game more. I would definitely change a lot of things if I could. I would have worked harder. I kind of dug myself a hole and I’ve been working to get out of it. I thought I would just come in here and be a top player like coach (Dean) Blais expected.
Q: How did you dig a hole for yourself?
A: I came in with, I guess you’d call it a California attitude. I thought it would be easy. All the leagues I’ve played in, I felt like I was the best player on my team and I thought I’d come in here and be a top player again. It was a shocker for me to realize how hard I have to work to be in the lineup every day. It was a good lesson for me. I’m learning how to play the game and be the best player I can be every day.