Jeff Rabjohns,

De'Ron Davis playing himself into shape and major role

He may yet be in optimal playing shape but De'Ron Davis showed in Saturday's televised practice, he's ready to make an immediate impact.

The prize recruit of Indiana's freshman class was 6-foot-10, 240-pound De'Ron Davis of Aurora, Colorado. Just out of five-star range, Davis brings much needed depth to the Indiana interior.

In other words, Hoosier fan can breathe a little easier when foul trouble might plague preseason All-Big Ten center Thomas Bryant.

This issue this fall for Davis, however, has been a late arrival to the IU campus and some minor injuries that kept him off the court at times following his state championship run in March for Overland High. Those minor injuries "shot him down from time to time" according to what head coach Tom Crean said at the end of September.

The late arrival had to do with taking care of a class he needed to finalize his academic qualification. That didn't get taken care of until mid-August.

During the one-hour televised practice on the Big Ten Network this Saturday, coach Tom Crean spoke about the challenge the injuries and delayed arrival presented his staff this fall.

"De'Ron will play his way into shape," Crean said. "We didn't have him all this summer."

Checking in at 6-foot-10 himself, Bryant is doing all the mentoring he can to speed up the process.

"Just on how college is so much different than high school," Bryant said. "He's going through the same thing that I went through last year. You just have to keep talking to him. Keep instilling the confidence in him and the other freshmen as well."

As the state of Colorado's all-time shot blocker, Davis is a daily challenge for Bryant to shoot over in practice.

That showed up in Saturday's practice when Davis used his left hand to swat away a sweeping half hook attempt by Bryant in the lane.


Right after the block happened, Bryant went over to Davis, slapped him on the back and congratulated him on the nice play.

"Helps a lot going against someone just as big as me," Bryant said. "You have to try different moves out there just to score or get a defensive stop."

Soon after the block down on the offensive end, Davis made a terrific bounce pass to a cutting Robert Johnson. The Hoosier junior then flipped it out to an open Grant Gelon for an easy three-pointer that the freshman guard calmly drilled.

"He can play, he's a real good player," Bryant said. "He reads the game really well. And he's patient. He can make a move and he has a counter with it. I like that a lot about him."

Crean yelled loudly during the broadcast about how great a pass Davis made on the play.

"De'Ron is a skilled young man. We just have to get him in great shape and understand what we're doing. And he will," Crean said.


Watch Thomas Bryant talk about his mentoring of De'Ron Davis: Top Stories