It came as little to no surprise to Michigan State Spartans‘ fans when freshman forward Deyonta Davis opted for the NBA Draft after just one season in East Lansing.
Widely regarded as one of the best prospects in the draft, Davis had the look of a lottery selection on draft night. Several mock drafts had him slotted within the 14 picks in the lottery, while the vast majority had him as a first round pick.
On draft night, Davis remained in the green room, listening as names were called in the first round.
Davis’ name wasn’t one of them.
As the first round wound down, Davis was still waiting to hear his name as the Golden State Warriors made their pick at 30th overall. They went with big man Damian Jones, thus sending Davis into the second round.
It was an unforeseen slide for the native of Muskegon, MI, but he didn’t have to wait long into the second round before hearing his name called.
Deyonta Davis was the first pick of the second round, going to the Boston Celtics, who then traded his draft rights to the Memphis Grizzlies.
As a freshman, Davis only played an average of 18.6 minutes per game, but he was effective when he was on the floor for Tom Izzo’s team. Davis averaged 7.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game.
Davis showed how effective he can be around the basket last season, shooting 59.8% from the floor on the year. He has strong footwork in the paint, and is an effective rebounder on both ends of the floor. His rebounding abilities allow for him to get second-chance opportunities on offense, and create transition opportunities for his teammates.
On defense, Davis’ length allows for him to alter shots in the paint and pull down rebounds against opposing forwards.
When Davis heard his name called, he barely cracked a smile. A slide that far down in the draft will do that to a player, especially one who may not have faced that kind of adversity before in his basketball career.
But, he can look to another former Michigan State forward for inspiration, as he was selected in the second round and has turned out just fine.
You may know his name.
– T. Bennett