Coach Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans have had quite the 2015 recruiting season. While center Caleb Swanigan turned tides in favor of Purdue, the scenery (and minutes) just got a little greener for another incoming big man, Deyonta Davis. Let's dissect the newest member of the Tom Izzo School of Box Out's and Tip Drills.
Who: Deyonta Davis
What's his story: A 6'9", 250 pound athletic power forward from Muskegon, MI. As a junior, he lead Muskegon to a perfect 28-0 record, a state championship all the while accumulating a state record 199 blocks. In his senior season he was named Michigan's Mr. Basketball and lead his team to the quarterfinals of the Michigan Class A state playoffs.
Recruitnik Roundabout: A four-star prospect according to 247Sports Composite, they have the incoming freshman as the number one recruit out of Michigan and the 26th best player in the nation. ESPN agrees, having ranked Davis as a four-star athlete while having him ranked as the 22nd best player in the country.
One lyric that best describes Davis: Energy, my energy. Taking all of my energy. Energy, my energy. Taking all of my energy." Keri Hilson.
Banger. Leaper. Vertically gifted. Athletic as all get go. Shot Blocker. Leader. Feeds off of defensive play making ability.
Or, as I see it, the Big Ten's permanent energy and momentum stopper.
What do his former coaches say?: From Muskegon head coach, Keith Guy via The Detroit News:
"I just think he wants to be the best. He always talks about being the best and he said at the beginning he wants to be Mr. Basketball and he wants to win a state championship.
"He is a quick learner. He's unselfish. He's a leader, a quiet leader and is starting to be more vocal. He leads his team, he's happy for his teammates … a really positive-type leader where everyone enjoys being around him. And he's just a great player."
What does Tom Izzo say about Davis?: Changing it up on you all. But this was just to good not to share.
From the Detroit Free Press:
In Deyonta Davis we have a 6-10 shot blocker who won a state championship and plays for a great coach in Muskegon," MSU coach Tom Izzo said in a released statement this afternoon. "I think he has blossomed into something special with the best yet to come. He does remind me of an Adreian Payne. He runs the court and is very long, but he doesn't shoot the ball bad either - in fact his shooting is improving each and every day as they work out. But his forte would be to run the court and block shots, and he is very good at that.
If you read on, Izzo doesn't stop talking about Davis' shot blocking abilities. In fact, it's a constant no matter where you read or watch. This dude can fly down the court and swat wimpy layups on top of powerful dunks with the best of them.
But the Adrien Payne comps are what caught my eye. It isn't only Izzo throwing that name around. It's other websites. Other coaches. Other players. Heck, Davis himself was even quoted saying, "It makes me feel good" when drawing the Payne connection.
Why should the average Big Ten fan be excited to watch him play?: See all of the above... He's Patric Young in Adrien Payne's body. He's Justise Winslow, but taller. He's Tyler Hansbrough... actually nobody is Tyler Hansbrough.
Does he have a social media presence?: Not quite on the level as some of our previous incoming freshman. While he does have a Twitter and an "Insta" (I think that's what the cool kids are calling it these days), there isn't much there (which is totally OK). But from what I've gathered, it looks like Davis is SUPER READY to get the season started.
He also has one of the most beautiful bio quotes of all time:
Ball or get ball on get with it or get gone from the Skee to the Dee #HolbrookMoneyGang
I literally have no clue what this means (if you do, tweet at me because I'd love some actual context), but I have already incorporated these wonderfully creative quips of the English language into my daily conversations.
In fact, this past week at work, I told a co-worker (who also happens to be from Michigan) to "get with it, or get gone" during a team meeting only to follow that up by screaming "HOLBROOK MONEY GANG" while simultaneously doing the Justin Timberlake/Jimmy Fallon hand hashtag motion.
He was dumbfounded and I loved it. I can't wait for my next pick up basketball game.
What says the tape?:
- Is there a better way to start a highlight mix tape than a 360 break away dunk that makes you jump off your stool while whispering "woah" under your breath? Doubtful, right?
- Woo Hahh,WOOOOO HAHHHHHH. The BUST-A-BUST three quarter dread-lock and ponytail hairdo. Davis is now the leader in the clubhouse for best game-to-game hair style in the Big Ten.
- Offensive rebound highlights are some the best highlights to Tom Izzo right? Does he even care that this kid has approximately dunked 89.5% of his career shots with more force than Vin Diesel in any car ever?
- Davis seems to have a knack for being where the ball is going to be. This is absolutely a talent. He positions himself well for what will soon become more offensive tap-outs, a la Tyson Chandler, than boards. Either way, this is going to be integral for Sparty's success this season.
- This of course, is all based off of twelve minutes worth of grainy footage, but Davis uses offensive spacing to his advantage. He's a lingerer. While his guards are frantically working themselves into the middle, watch Davis on the baseline. He waits for the perfect moment-when his defender pushes up to help-to slip right in for a bunny.
- Lobs on lobs on lobs on lobs on lobs.
- Putting Davis in pick and roll situations when a basket is crucial is going to be lethal to guard. He's not just a roller. If you switch the roll, he's going over the top of the guard. If his defender stays, he has the ability to show of his pop-a-shot stroke. If Izzo is to be believed, his rotation on his jumper is almost perfect, so there is a natural jump shot in there somewhere.
- I know I've already harped on this, but it bares repeating: Davis looks to be very, very good at getting behind the D and filling in the open spaces where he can score. It's my biggest takeaway thus far. Granted, who knows what kind of talent this is against, but he's going to need to be checked at all times during the Big Ten season. Stay tuned.
- There's something about throwing a lob off the backboard for a dunk that makes me incredibly happy (and boy is there a ton of them in the video above). Not sure if it's because I was the king of NBA Street as a teenager (shouts to Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic and Jason Williams) or if I still think I have a future on the And-1 Mixtape tour as Hot Sizzli (where my Wawa fans at?).
- I can already see A.J. Hammons and some of the other lumbering Big Ten big men cheating toward the defensive end when matched up with Davis; leaving ample opportunities for Davis to generate pure havoc. I think Fran McCaffery just burst a blood cell in his eye just thinking about Woodbury not boxing him out.
- Davis has good enough touch around the hoop and showed some flashes of some decent post moves. He's probably gotten away with just being overly athletic up until this point so he hasn't had much need for them, but Izzo will be sure to change that if he hasn't already.
- Last thing for those still reading...watch his foot work when trying to get open down low. It's tremendous. He's got defensive end type moves.