The 2018-19 Indiana University men’s basketball season is right around the corner. To help get you ready, The Daily Hoosier is profiling every player on the 2018-19 IU roster. You can see all of our 2018-19 player profiles in one place here. If you are looking for the 2018-19 IU basketball schedule, you can find that here.
With Thomas Bryant moving on to the NBA, the 2017-18 season was on track to be a big year for De’Ron Davis. With talk of improved conditioning and a better vertical, the expectations were high.
As a freshman, Davis played in all 34 games and made four starts. He averaged 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds. Davis became a reliable option off the bench, shooting 48.5 percent from the floor and 75.6 percent at the free throw line. Keep that free throw percentage in mind.
Davis started the first 15 games of his sophomore year before misfortune struck, as the Colorado native tore his Achilles in early January.
Prior to the injury, Davis was averaging 9.6 points, 4.3 rebounds per game and shot 61.5 percent from the floor. After shooting a respectable percentage as a freshman, Davis struggled mightily from the foul line, shooting just 50 percent and looking very uncomfortable at times.
On the positive side, Davis had big moments in big games. He had 16 points and five rebounds against Duke, 13 points, six rebounds and a career-best four blocked shots against Iowa, and he finished with 14 points, seven boards and three blocked shots at Louisville.
At one point early-on during his high school career, Davis was the top-rated recruit in the country by at least one service. He ended up as the top player in Colorado. He was named Mr. Basketball in Colorado by the Denver Post and led Overland to back-to-back Class 5A state championships as a junior and senior.
Now coming off a major injury, Davis has effectively started over, and the big question is whether he will be ready when the season begins in just over two weeks.
- Height: 6-foot-10
- Weight: 255
- Position: Forward
- Class: Junior
- Hometown: Park Hill, Colorado
- High School: Overland
- Minutes per game: 18.8
- Points per game: 9.6
- Rebounds per game: 4.3
- Blocks per game: 1.5
- Assists per game: 1.1
- FG%: 61.5%
- FT%: 50%
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Archie Miller at the Big Ten media day last week on Davis’ recovery —
“He’s elevating week by week, no setbacks right now. He’s yet to do five on five contact but he has done half court contact and he has done position work contact. He made his first transition (drill) up and down the floor in a four man grouping. He’ll keep growing but we’re trying to take him slow.
The big thing with De’Ron is pre-practice, post-practice, is to work on his conditioning level. To get into the best shape that he can. Like I told him yesterday, the goal isn’t for him when he’s coming back, but where are you going to be in the next 20 days?
That’s going to be his challenge, he’s obviously trying to come down. Not being able to do so much for so long and now being able to do a little bit more, the thing for him is to obviously get into better shape. That will come with more repetitions and more opportunities.”
WHAT 2018-19 SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE
Obviously step one is getting back to 100 percent health. A torn Achilles tendon is a very difficult injury to come back from and Davis is still just over nine months into his recovery. It may not be until Big Ten play in January before Davis is both back to 100 percent and has his conditioning where it needs to be.
When he is back to full strength, it will be interesting to see what his role is. With players like Evan Fitzner, Race Thompson and Jake Forrester now in the mix, the IU front court looks a lot different than it did last year.
It is fair to question how well Davis’ style of play fits with what Archie Miller is trying to accomplish. On defense, high level athletes with quick lateral movement seem to fit best. On offense, an up tempo style with big-men that can play out on the perimeter are highly valued.
That’s not to say there isn’t a place for Davis going forward. He’s a highly efficient scorer in the post. He has the size to match up with centers in the Big Ten such as Ethan Happ and Matt Haarms. That’s something that was sorely missing from last year’s squad.
It isn’t time to give up on Davis’ future at Indiana, but he will need to demonstrate improved athleticism and conditioning at some point down the road as he transitions from recovery to improvement. With his size, Davis needs to become more of a force on the glass. If he spent his rehab getting his touch back from the foul line, that wouldn’t be a bad thing either.
The bottom line here is that there doesn’t appear to be a reason to rush Davis back. He’s clearly going to have a role and continues to have the ability to surprise on the upside. He may not get back to being the full time starter anytime soon, but IU will be a better team when Davis is back to full strength.
Previous Player Previews:
- Damezi Anderson
- Jake Forrester
- Jerome Hunter
- Romeo Langford
- Rob Phinisee
- Race Thompson
- Vijay Blackmon
- Al Durham
- Clifton Moore
- Justin Smith
- Johnny Jager
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