MSU-bound Deyonta Davis has been named the 2015 Hal Schram Mr. Basketball for the state of Michigan giving the Spartans their first home state winner since Matt Costello in 2012. Davis topped the other two finalists, Eric Davis of Arthur Hill and Trevor Manuel from Lansing Everett, by a substantial margin. The voting went:
D. Davis: 5,223 pts
E. Davis: 3,757 points
T. Manuel: 2,837 points
He’s also the second straight winner from Muskegon High School succeeding Deshaun Thrower who plays for Stony Brook. The most recent winners who attended MSU are Derrick Nix, Keith Appling, and Drew Neitzel, but the tradition goes back for the Spartans including an outstanding run of last-name-only winners from 1999 to 2002 of Richardson, Taylor, Torbert, and Davis. The first official winner of the award in 1981, Sam Vincent, also wore Green & White.
Followers of recruiting are familiar with story by now. Davis went from a good player with some local buzz to the hottest prospect in the state and a 5-star on scouting services. Conveniently, his commitment to play for Tom Izzo came in the midst of this upsurge and not at the end. As TilltheBitterEnd mentioned in a FanShot this month, it’s very exciting to think about how Davis will fit into the MSU plan next season. Watching Branden Dawson once again turn it up in March, it’s hard to imagine anyone coming close to replacing him. Even as a likely starter, Davis won’t do that right away, partially because Dawson is Dawson but also because Davis is a very different player. He’s a long 6’9" shotblocker who (especially when coupled with the timing and blocking precision of Matt Costello) will create problems for visitors to the MSU defensive paint. In addition to his defensive reputation, he has a developing offensive game that has led to comparisons to Adreian Payne.
After setting a new state record for blocks in a season as a junior (199), Davis has built on that strong season to average 18 and 15 as a senior. He made the prep sports headlines in December by rejecting the final shot attempt of Eric Davis to secure a 65-63 over Arthur Hill in a huge regular season event.
Davis earned the award not only by individual accomplishments but also by contributing to his team’s success. Muskegon are the defending state champions in Class A, and they’re still busy competing for a repeat. They face Manuel’s Lansing Everett squad in the state quarterfinal on Tuesday in a match-up definitely worth seeing if you can get to the site at Lansing Eastern.
Davis' coach Keith Guy told the Free Press today:
"His resume speaks for itself...He's a state champion. He's lost one game in two years. He broke the state single-season shot-blocking record last year. He changed the game at both ends. He's just a winner, an unselfish guy, and he's done things the right way.''
Coach Izzo likes 6'9" power forwards with arms like Kraken tentacles (who doesn't?), and he also likes unselfish winners who play the right way. If Coach Guy is spot-on, then MSU is getting not just another Mr. Basketball winner but a quality student-athlete.
In close, TOC congratulations on this award to Deyonta Davis!