Deyonta Davis committed to play basketball at Michigan State earlier today and before jumping into digressions about what that signifies in a larger sense, it’s important to talk about what Davis is going to mean to Michigan State when he arrives. The book on Davis is a player developing as a stretch-4 man, taking his Spartan inspiration from Adreian Payne and Payne’s ability to shoot, block shots, & handle the ball a bit. It’s fair to say that Davis has more development ahead to play that level of game but Adreian Payne didn’t reach his maximum potential overnight either. Other traits that might sound familiar are Davis’ thin build and impressive wingspan. Like many high school bigs, Davis is a physical work in progress and the man performing right now might look substantially different in a few years as he continues to grow into his frame. Even this year, there is a big spotlight on this forward from Muskegon. Though he’s currently a Top 100 recruit, many observers think he has the potential to earn a Top 50 ranking or even higher as his game and ambition improve. People are expecting a breakout year.
Recruiting the 2015 class is wide open so Davis at this point simply arrives as a body, albeit a 6’9" body on a roster that will need size. Assuming that early departures are cancelled out by a 2014 late addition, the Spartans have 4 available scholarships still remaining after Deyonta Davis. With a squad that should include Matt Costello, Gavin Schilling, and Kenny Kaminski, Davis will have the opportunity to play immediately but the pressure will be on the upper classmen to perform the lead role.
As I suggested before in writing about Davis’ October offer, it’s great to see MSU get aggressive and pull the trigger on going after in-state players. It’s difficult to know how different an approach this move represents from last year. Davis is likely talented enough and full of enough potential that he would have been offered regardless of what happened in 2014. I’m one of the people who believes the biggest determining factor is simply the quality of the Michigan players. If they’re good enough, they’ll get an offer whether they’re from Livonia, East Chicago, or Cincinnati. That said, it is possible that a different set of events could have led the staff to wait on an offer. In turn, Davis might have seen his stock rise via a strong junior year and following AAU season resulting in a more "complicated" recruitment requiring more time and struggle from the Spartans. As it stood, Deyonta had offers including Memphis, Missouri, Marquette, UNLV, Oakland, and interest from teams like Florida and Indiana. He’s a big time recruit.
If there is any shift in strategy involved here, it’s the casting of a wider net earlier. Michigan State has offered or closely watched a number of players for the 2015 class (Eric Davis, Henry Ellenson, Carlton Bragg, Jalen Brunson, Jalen Coleman, Kyle Ahrens, etc., to name a bunch). I think you’re seeing an interest in keeping multiple options open as well as the staff reacting to some hiccups in reading the intentions of a small handful of prime targets.
Michigan State needs bodies in 2015 and will probably add at least two players if not more. They almost certainly want another point guard to replace Travis Trice and there’s room on both the wing and in the post. For now, both fans and staff can relish having one Plan A player committed and in the fold for the 2015-2016 season. Welcome to MSU, Deyonta Davis!
Muskegon's 6'9 2015 of Deyonta Davis commutes to Michigan State this afternoon per his high school coach.— TJ Kelley (@scoopIPS) December 11, 2013
Impressive job by Tom Izzo & Michigan State to keep Deyonta Davis local & land an early commitment from him before his stock rose.— Alex Kline (@TheRecruitScoop) December 11, 2013
Not sure what media means by Deyonta Davis not a national recruit. Offers far S as Memphis, E as Rhode Island, W as UNLV, N as Marquette.— Steve Bell (@BankHoops) December 12, 2013
Here are some recent highlights.