De’Ron Davis may not be playing much basketball over the next month.
That’s because Indiana basketball coach Archie Miller has a specific plan for him, and phase one is to get Davis in tremendous shape.
Saying the 6-foot-10 center entering his sophomore season has a chance to be “a major, major league player for us next year,” Miller has laid out a plan for Davis to revamp himself physically to become a force for the Hoosiers.
“Getting my eyes on De'Ron this spring really put me in, I guess, an aggressive mode with him in terms of what he has to do for next year. He's going to be a major, major league player for us next year. The opportunity is there,” Miller said today.
“He should be one of the most improved players in all of college basketball if we can get done what we want to get done. It starts with his work ethic in these next, I guess, 12 weeks, physically. He's got to change his body. He's got to change his motor. He's got to prevent injuries and do some things which he didn't have the opportunity to do a year ago as he entered campus.
“That's a big step for me getting a chance to see him and understand. I'd love to put him on a plan, and he's going to do that. I think he'll be here all summer, which is a big commitment for him.”
As a freshman, Davis averaged 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds. He played 13.9 minutes per game, eighth on the team, while backing up sophomore 6-foot-10 center Thomas Bryant.
Bryant has put his name in for the 2017 NBA Draft and early indications are there is a legitimate chance he goes pro, although no decisions have been made at this point in time. Players who declared for the draft without and agent, as Bryant did, have until May 24 to withdraw and preserve their college eligibility.
Davis flashed his potential a number of times as a freshman, establishing position inside, catching the ball and making an effective scoring move.
One of his better games came when he scored 15 points in 14 minutes on 7-for-7 shooting in a Big Ten Tournament win over Iowa.
However, at other times, foul trouble kept him off the floor. He fouled out in nine minutes against Purdue.
Ranked No. 44 overall in the 2016 class by Scout.com, Davis entered college from Overland High School in Aurora, Colo., with the right mentality, telling Peegs.com before ever arriving on campus, "I'm here to get those dog points. Loose balls. Offensive rebounds. Defensive rebounds. Do stuff other people won't do."
So what’s the goal for him? Old-school post player? More of an inside-outside game?
“De'Ron has terrific hands and footwork, and I think the whole key to his game and his development starts with his body. He doesn't really have to touch a ball here for four or five weeks,” Miller said.
“We’ve got to get his body and his motor ready to go for heavy minutes. He can't play heavy minutes right now and that will hurt him.
“When he can play 25-plus minutes a game without fouling, you're going to see a guy that can do a lot of different things. Yes, post, operate off the post with him, offensive rebound, has a great motor, get fouled. He’s a good free-throw shooter, so get fouled.
“Defensively be able to be a presence for us, be physical inside with his size. Also do some things in transition that he hasn't done before as well. So I think there are some things that we're going to ask him to do, where he's going to have to really grow up.
“But it starts up here,” Miller continued, pointing to his head, “and it starts with his body. He's got great hands and feet. We've just got to find a way that when you guys see him in October and November that you say, ‘Wow, what happened to him?’ If you're not saying that, then we didn't get it done.
“That's just the way it's going to be. If we say that, and you're like ‘Wow, he looks like a new man,’ then he's going to have a chance to have a good year.”