Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has an unbelievable knack for galvanizing a group of young men to accomplish extraordinary feats. The 2014-15 Spartan roster didn't appear that stacked and physically imposing to the untrained eye, but after a Final Four appearance, it's clear coach Izzo has the ability to lead any roster to magical seasons.
A major fixture amongst the Spartan team from a season ago was Gary, Indiana native Branden Dawson. The do-it-all senior averaged an impressive 11.9 points and 9 rebounds per game. The Spartans pride themselves on their physicality and rebounding prowess and will look to continue that trend in 2015-16. With the program welcoming new bodies along the frontcourt, look for Muskegon High School product Deyonta Davis to pick up the slack on the boards in place of Dawson.
Davis headlines the 2015 recruiting class for the Spartans. At 6'9", 245 pounds according to ESPN, the athletic big man brings high accolades to go along with his high intensity and relentless motor. The former McDonalds All-American and Jordan Brand Classic All-American, Davis will be an instant impact freshman on defense due to his high basketball IQ, rebounding and propensity of blocking shots.
An underrated trait for players nowadays is keeping the basketball in play after blocking a shot. It may look good on the highlight reel to send the ball in the third row, but Davis can keep the ball in play and start fast break opportunities for his team.
Davis positions himself well to block shots towards teammates to generate scoring opportunities for his team. As a high volume rebounder, Davis will also bring an uncanny combination of athleticism, incredible timing to block shots and energy. Even more notable is the fact that he also shows flashes of a capable jump shot from 16-18 feet out. His face up game is intriguing and he's been developing a solid turnaround jump shot in the paint.
Areas for Improvement
The main concerns for Davis come on the offensive end. There doesn't appear to be an extensive offensive repertoire, which could cause the freshman to become stagnant and a non-scoring threat during the 2015-16 season. Even though he finishes above the rim, Davis isn't as aggressive as his physicality should allow him to be. With his size and athleticism, there will be an ample amount of opportunities to contribute in the scoring column in East Lansing, but he will have to become more demanding of the ball and capitalize on remaining aggressive on a consistent basis.
Davis has an immensely gifted basketball skill set. If he can put it all together by getting stronger, becoming a more aggressive scorer and developing some post moves, the sky is the limit for the four-star prospect. There is no doubt Davis will make an immediate impact on the defensive end, as he has the chance to be one of the better rim protectors in the Big Ten throughout his tenure. The first player that popped into my head for a comparison is former Florida Gator forward Chris Walker due to his frame, defensive abilities and finishing above the rim. Davis appears to be a multi-year player who will flourish in Tom Izzo's system.