Less than a year after signing one of the nation’s top center recruits, Indiana has landed an elite power forward prospect. De’Ron Davis announced Thursday, one day into the early signing period for college basketball, that he will join the Hoosiers next season.
Davis revealed his college choice after taking official visits to Indiana and Mississippi State. (He also took an unofficial visit to Bloomington last May.) Davis listed the Hoosiers, Arizona and Texas as his top three schools this summer but later settled on Indiana and the Bulldogs as finalists.
The Hoosiers had been pursuing Davis for multiple years. Mississippi State, meanwhile, gained significant momentum in recent month as new coach Ben Howland has secured commitments from four-star guard Tyson Carter and four-star big man Schnider Herard. Ultimately Davis sided with the program that previously counted only one other top-70 prospect in its 2016 recruiting class.
At 6'9" and 235 pounds, Davis has drawn praise for his passing ability, post scoring and mid-range game. Through 12 games this year on the Adidas Uprising Gauntlet circuit with his grassroots program, the Colorado Hawks, Davis averaged 13.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game while posting a 23.4 Player Efficiency Rating.
“A big, strong kid, Davis looks a bit like Johnny O'Bryant at the high school level,” wrote Rivals.com national analyst Eric Bossi. “He is best around the rim taking his time, moving around defenders and scoring deep in the post. After establishing himself down low, Davis has the skill to face up and make some jumpers.”
Davis—who led Overland High School in Aurora, Colo., to a state title in March—is the No. 39 player in the class of 2016, according to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index, which incorporates data from several sources.
Losing Davis to Mississippi State would have been a tough blow for Indiana considering how much time it spent pursuing him.
Davis is a massive addition for the Hoosiers by virtue of his talent alone. Yet he also will fortify the roster of a team that often trotted out small-ball lineups in 2014–15 and ranked 188th in the country in defensive rebounding percentage. Next season Davis will partner with Thomas Bryant—a top-30 center prospect in the class of 2015—in the Hoosiers’ frontcourt (assuming Bryant doesn’t leave for the NBA).
Davis joins a recruiting class that also includes two-star shooting guard Grant Gelon and four-star shooting guard Curtis Jones. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers remain in the hunt for Bruce Brown, a four-star shooting guard, as well as five-star big man Thon Maker, who is expected to announce his decision in the spring.
Regardless of whether it signs Brown or Maker, Indiana already has landed two key targets in Davis and Jones. Those two, and whoever joins them in the Hoosiers’ 2016 class, will help coach Tom Crean overcome the loss of seniors Yogi Ferrell and Nick Zeisloft, transfer Max Bielfeldt and possibly wing Troy Williams, guard James Blackmon Jr. and Bryant from a team we project to finish second in the Big Ten.