I started this series with the best recruit from the best class, so I guess it makes sense that the second installment should be about the highest rated recruit in the B1G for 2015, Deyonta Davis. The Spartans should be looking forward to having Davis, the number one recruit in the state of Michigan and the sixteenth highest rated recruit in the country according to ESPN, on campus next fall. Davis is a 6'9, 210 pound (!) power forward from Muskegon High School.
His arrival will make Branden Dawson's imminent departure a little more palatable for Michigan State fans because Davis' ability to get to the rim on offense and defend the paint on defense will fill much of the void Dawson is going to leave behind after this season. Davis is three inches taller than Dawson and should be able to exist in the paint in the halfcourt more effectively than Dawson ever did. He's is something of a raw talent at this point, but a couple months of practice with Tom Izzo should have Davis ready to wreak havoc in the B1G next year.
For almost every recruit who plays the four or five, putting on weight before hitting the court in college is necessary, so it kind of goes without saying that he needs to put on weight, but Davis really needs to tack on a little mass before he can bang down low in the B1G for an entire season. That said, he has a relatively smooth jump shot and will be able to stretch defenses; though even if his college bread and butter is going to be the pick-and-pop (unlikely, given the fact that he's a great athlete and he's going to be playing for Tom Izzo), he's going to be a liability on defense if he doesn't bulk up. Considering that one of the most promising aspects of his game is his defense around the rim, it's going to be a problem if he can't consistently alter shots in the lane. This video shows what he can do around the rim on offense and defense:
Davis is an ever-so-slightly undersize four, which is obviously not a problem in high school, but the Spartans are going to rely on him for more than catch-and-dunks and easy blocks against overmatched opponents next year. Best case for 2016: Davis puts on a few pounds, protects the rim with gusto, finishes in the lane consistently, and uses his jump shot to become a versatile offensive force. None of those things are hard to imagine; my trepidation about raving too much about him stems from the fact that he's going to get pushed around in some games by bigger power forwards and he won't be able to compensate with athleticism alone.
Davis does have an encouragingly polished offensive game: he can face up and get a clean look, he can shoot jumpers past the elbow, and he knows when to rush the rim for put-backs or alley-oops. If he can hold up against bigger players down low, he'll be a monster on defense as well. Some time with Tom Izzo screaming at him will probably have him ready to embarrass opponents by the time the B1G season starts. I can see him starting slow during the out of conference schedule and coming on in a big way during the B1G season.
The Spartans lose Travis Trice and Branden Dawson to graduation after this season, so not only will Davis see a lot of playing time immediately, but it seems like the team will end up being as good as he is next year: if he's okay, MSU will end up with a season like this one or slightly worse, but if he's great (not hard to imagine), then MSU will be in the thick of the B1G championship race come February 2016.