Michigan State freshman Deyonta Davis will declare for the NBA Draft and hire an agent
— Sean Merriman (@MerrimanTweets) April 12, 2016
Michigan State freshman forward Deyonta Davis has decided to enter the NBA Draft and forego his final three years of eligibility.
This might be a surprising move if you were to only look at Davis’ production last year which saw him average 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. However, scouts have been salivating over Davis since basically the start of MSU’s season when he was projected as a mid-first round lottery pick.
Perhaps the bigger reason this comes as a surprise is because this was a player coached under Tom Izzo, whose last one and done player was Zach Randolph, who went No.19 in the 2001 NBA Draft to the Portland Trailblazers. Though Izzo doesn’t get many one and done players, he always encourages his players to live out their NBA dreams when he is inevitably faced with a question about his stars leaving early. And in these quotes attributed to 97.1 The Ticket, Davis is no exception.
“As a coach, my job is to help my players grow both on and off the basketball court. Over the last year, Deyonta has improved as a player, as he is just starting to tap his true potential. Off the court, there is no question that he has grown by leaps and bounds as he matures as a young man. I’ve been fortunate to live my dreams, but the real thrill as a coach is getting to see my players live their dreams. I look forward to following Deyonta’s development and career in the NBA for years to come.”
Davis’ high school coach at Muskegon, Keith Guy, also had some words of encouragement for his former star
“Deyonta has an opportunity to pursue a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He has approached this decision with a level of maturity and reason that exhibits the growth you would hope for in a man. His time here at Muskegon High and at Michigan State University has seen him continue to develop both on and off the court into a steady and focused young man. Coach Izzo’s program was the perfect fit for Deyonta. They went above and beyond as a staff and as mentors in helping Deyonta to realize the potential that the NBA clearly recognizes in Deyonta.”
Many people think leaving for the NBA after one year of college would be an easy one, but for so many players it’s not as cut and dry as that.
“I asked Coach Izzo and Coach Guy to do research for me. The information that came back made me decide to enter the draft. It was a tough decision, but after talking to my family and coaches, I felt it was the right decision and one I’m fully committed to. I’d like to thank all of the people that helped me this year – my teammates and coaches, the academic support staff and especially the fans that welcomed me with open arms. Because of their help, I’m in position to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing in the NBA. This has been a great year for me at Michigan State – including a memorable trip to Italy, being a part of the best start in school history and winning the Big Ten Tournament. I will always be a Spartan and look forward to coming back to campus like so many other pros do now.”
Davis is six-foot-ten and 245 pounds and has impressed scouts with his defensive versatility and ability to protect the rim. Davis is a tremendous athlete and while he’s nowhere near DeMarcus Cousins or Karl Anthony-Towns on offense, Davis has shown an ability to step out to about 15 feet, and possesses a fairly reliable jump hook. However, Davis is going to have to get better on the offensive end, especially with his left hand, if he wants to be able to dominate at the next level.
Davis’ departure obviously hurts the Spartans, who look very thin in the front court heading into next season.