In the game of basketball, size isn’t the end all, be all -- but it’s certainly a heck of a luxury if it can be combined with other skills.
2016 Onsted (Mich.) center Austin Davis is one of those examples.
Already standing a tad over 6-foot-10 and 250-pounds, Davis is utilizing that size advantage against much smaller teams on Onsted’s schedule, good enough to have won 11 of its last 12 games for an overall 14-3 record.
While most would assume the game plan for Onsted is simply to dump the ball into the post for Davis to drop the ball into the net, this season has even more so been about adding other facets to his growing game.
“As far as his progressions go he’s a young junior meaning he doesn’t turn 17 until the end of summer so I think it’s a lot of him growing into his body, getting more athletic and stronger,” Davis’ father Eric said.
“We see him finishing more and his range has gotten out past the three-point line. Free throws, he struggled a bit last year but this year he’s almost at 80-percent. I think with just growing up more and having more confidence and getting stronger.”
In response, the opposition would send two and three defenders Donnal’s way to make someone else beat them. Davis and his now well oiled Onsted team are experiencing the same.
“We have to move him around everywhere cause we’ve seen just about every gimmick defense out there,” Davis’ father said. “Early in the season we saw a triangle and two and there was two guys on him no matter what.
“Our other guys knocked down threes that game but we’re seeing the box and ones and four guys sinking in on him so we’re moving him around.”
Despite not having a power five conference scholarship offer to his name just yet, it appears one could be close with several Big Ten schools in the gym this season including Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, and even the Notre Dame of the Big East.
Although Davis’ are lugging around three children to various basketball games and practices this winter, the family has made it a priority to visit all five of the schools above, some multiple times.
Based on those visits, Davis and his family will have quite a bit to consider based on what they’ve seen thus far.
“First and foremost is academics,” Davis’ father said. “He’s almost a 4.1 student, he’s got his ACT taken care of with a 26. Education is first with both my wife and I. It comes to style of play and what he’s going to feel comfortable with.
“A lot of people label him as a back to the basket type but we’ve worked hard to face the basket and shoot the 15-footer and he’s taking it out further. It’s finding a place where he’s going to feel comfortable, the academics and the system.
“We’ve met some great people and the strength and conditioning programs are top notch everywhere we go. The way they’re able to feed the kids now and watch their diets, it’s incredible.”
Very much with a Midwest feel at this point in his recruitment, right now it’s unclear whether or not Davis will remain within a roughly six hour drive from home in college, with one west coast school appearing to be a wild card.
“He really kind of keeps that close knit to himself,” Davis’ father said. “He knows he has our support. Stanford is the one that seems to be very interested and want us to come out there.
“And I’ve told him that you need to use this to get the best education you can get and if that means you go away for four or five years you have to look at it. I don’t want him to look back in 10 years and say, ‘I wish I would’ve done this.’”
On the Wolverines, currently with a center already committed in the 2016 class in Medina (Ohio) big man Jon Teske, Davis’ father says John Beilein and Michigan have continued showing interest this season.
“Talking to Coach Beilein and stuff he’s that young kid that he has a tendency being a 17 year old coming in and continuing to develop,” he said.
“He compared him to Ricky Doyle and they love his down low play, his range and he’s averaging almost 17 rebounds a game.”