(Editor’s Note: This is the second in a 10-part series looking at the top-10 offseason storylines for Indiana basketball.)
Indiana this season will add a player ready for the Big Ten, at least from a physical standpoint.
De'Ron Davis enters IU at 6-foot-10 and most recently weighed at nearly 240 pounds.
Capable of playing old-school power forward and center, he has a solid lower base, big shoulders and strength up top.
Davis, ranked No. 40 nationally by Scout.com in the 2016 class, is more physically ready than many freshman, in part because he’s a year older. He turns 20 on Nov. 20.
He gives Indiana another true post defender, and that gives Indiana options.
Davis could be paired alongside 6-foot-10 sophomore center Thomas Bryant or Davis could be Bryant’s backup.
If Davis plays with the second unit, that could give the Hoosiers a legit big who likely would be better than the reserve center for most of IU’s opponents.
In the vein of how teams do things in the NBA, that could give IU a mismatch when the game is second unit vs. second unit.
With the way IU likes to play up-tempo, it also would give the Hoosiers a chance to spell Bryant even if a game is tight and IU doesn’t want to give up size on the post.
Davis also could be paired with Bryant.
Since Davis isn’t scheduled to arrive at IU until Aug. 21, he may be behind on some things, so starting probably isn’t the most likely scenario.
But Bryant and Davis could play together.
Davis can hit jumpers from the elbow and baseline as well as play in the paint.
With the way Bryant is working to develop his skills facing the basket, Indiana could get to a point it could, if it wanted, play inside-out with Bryant and Davis on the court together.
Davis’ arrival also means small foul issues won’t leave the Hoosiers short on post defense or force a forward to move over a spot.
However he is utilized, Davis gives IU options.
His game has continued to develop.
In Atlanta in July of 2015, Davis showed his post moves had a taken a jump.
In three different games, he caught the ball on the block or in the paint and made moves to score using quickness. He caught the ball on both the left and right block and a couple times in the middle of the lane.
In the past he had been mainly about power — and power is still an important part of his game — but on this weekend, he showed quickness on one- and two-dribble moves.
As a senior in high school, in leading Overland High School to a second consecutive Colorado state title, Davis expanded his offense even more.
Since he faced so many double teams, he began to step out and hit more elbow and baseline jumpers and even some 3-pointers. His passing also improved, Overland coach Danny Fisher said.
Defensively, Davis has the body to defend in the paint.
He’s a very good rebounder, can get boards in congestion and can rebound above the rim.
Athletically, Davis moves well, which has been the case since IU first discovered him.
The Hoosiers first saw Davis the summer prior to his freshman year of high school.
Former IU assistant Steve McClain watched Davis in the adidas Invitational in a younger group pool play game at Carmel High School.
What stood out even then was that Davis had not only size, but he was so fluid in his movements, even at a young age. He had a great feel for how to play and moved well at an age when a lot of taller players are still gangly or a little mechanical in their movements.