Freshman Focus: De’Ron Davis

  • 07/21/2016 2:31 pm in

“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s four incoming freshmen. Over the next couple of weeks, we will take an in-depth look at all four newcomers. Today: De’Ron Davis. (Previously: Grant Gelon, Devonte Green)

Overland High School coach Danny Fisher first met De’Ron Davis as a fifth grader.

The journey the two have been through together is one that Fisher will not forget. It’s a relationship that extends beyond basketball.

Fisher met Davis not long after the IU signee’s father passed away. He was his coach when he was ranked one of the top players in the country early in his high school career and the scholarship offers began pouring in. He was there when Davis struggled with his weight and as a result, tumbled in the rankings and saw his recruitment cool off. And together Fisher and Davis, Colorado’s Mr. Basketball in his final prep season, put Overland in the record books by leading the school to consecutive Class 5A state championships.

“Shortly after his father died, I met him,” Fisher told Inside the Hall. “So his transformation from that point to now has been something that has really been cool to be a part of. Just how he’s matured, how difficult that (his father’s death) was, how much it changed it his life. And then just seeing him make sense out of everything, getting himself realigned and really making a full commitment to basketball. It’s been an awesome journey.”

The journey, at least as player and coach, will conclude at some point in the next month. Davis is expected to complete his remaining academic requirements and move to Bloomington to join his teammates at Indiana.

The relationship between Davis and the Indiana coaching staff grew roots because of loyalty. When the Hoosiers offered Davis a scholarship early in his prep career, Fisher acknowledges that he believed it was a fluff offer to just get on the radar with his star player.

But as adversity hit Davis and other schools soured or moved on to other prospects, Indiana didn’t alter its approach.

As Fisher recalls it, Davis hit a lull in his prep career. He gained weight as a result of a poor diet and a busy travel schedule. His explosion suffered. And as a player many viewed as one of the nation’s best, he was scrutinized and his profile nationally suffered.

“In all honesty, it was true,” Fisher said. “And it hurt him. But I think ultimately, it kind of drove him and helped him step back from all of the ranking systems and how much stock he was putting into all of that. It helped him focus more on who De’Ron is and what he needed to do to be the best version of De’Ron.”

Indiana never lost the vision it had for Davis when Tom Crean offered him a scholarship before his freshman year of high school. Other schools came and went in his recruitment.

Indiana was the constant.

“That meant everything. I think that was the deciding factor,” Fisher said. “That was the piece that really helped him develop a deeper relationship with coach Crean and his staff through those tough times. When a kid is on top of the world, everybody loves them. But a kid doesn’t have a chance to build a real relationship with someone when they’re on top of the world.

“He was able to build a relationship with them through adversity. When you have an opportunity to do that, it’s real.”

Fisher has also been with Davis through his latest journey – his unexpected summer in Colorado.

While Devonte Green, Grant Gelon and Curtis Jones prepare for their first collegiate season in Bloomington, Davis is finishing up academic requirements back home.

He’s with Fisher five or six days per week for eight or nine workouts. Indiana assistant coach Chuck Martin was in to see Davis at his home earlier in the week just to check in.

“He’s finishing up some academic requirements and making sure he’s 100 percent cleared by the NCAA,” Fisher said. “He had to do some summer stuff for that. He’s on the path that we all need him to be on.”

There will be ground for Davis to make up once he arrives in Bloomington in terms of basketball. As his teammates have worked out all summer with Lyonel Anderson and the coaching staff, Davis has done his best to stay on track with Fisher’s help.

But Fisher can’t simulate what Davis will encounter in those workouts or the benefit he’ll receive from playing against Thomas Bryant, OG Anunoby and Juwan Morgan every day.

“I can’t wait to see what that does for him every single day,” Fisher said. “I think at the end of his freshman year, midway through his freshman year, we’re going to see a completely different player. He’s truly going to see what he’s capable of. It’s going to make everybody go back and look at those rankings and say ‘how did we miss on this kid?’ Because De’Ron is a kid who gets better through adversity and when he’s challenged.”

For Fisher, Davis moving on is bittersweet.

It’ll be a new era for Overland basketball. Fisher says he’s excited for that challenge while also acknowledging that he may never coach another player as talented as Davis. Overland’s defense, a trademark over the last two seasons, won’t be nearly as formidable without the presence of Davis.

But when Fisher speaks about what he’ll miss most about his star player, the basketball aspect isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.

“I’m going to miss his leadership, I’m going to miss his smile,” Fisher said. “His ability to control the temperature of the entire gym, the mood and the energy of the entire gym.

“As he got older, we became a lot closer. As he became more of a man, we were able to have men conversations. I’m going to miss him as a friend. That’s something we developed over the last year or so. We went from coach and player and were able to turn that off and simply talk about things and life that were bothering us, things that we were going through. Every aspect of who De’Ron Davis is, I’m going to miss it heavily.”

Filed to:

  • BL4IU

    Going to be really fun having two legit, top 50, 6’10 kids playing for IU at the same time. DD will take some time to get acclimated to D1 ball but as his HS coach suggested, mid-way through next year, we could have another kid playing like he was severely under-recruited. If so, it’s katie-bar-the-door.

  • Bill Graham

    Just curious:

    What are the expectations for DD in terms of stats? Do you expect him to be as productive as Max was averaging 8 pts and 4.5 rbs per game? More or less?

    I honestly don’t have a very solid opinion on this one. I guess it depends on minutes. If he averages 15-20 minutes then I guess I’d hope for 6-10 points per game and 3-5 rebounds.

    Also do you see him as a 2 year player? 3? 4?

  • SCHoosier

    I’m still aggravated that the course.requirement fell thru the rabbit hole. Shouldn’t have happened as long as IU has been working with this kid.. Hate that he’s missing the summer work out regime….but I like his coaches comments about DD’s expected improvement this year.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    my biggest expectation is that he makes this team much better defensively. the points will be there, though i doubt he’ll be relied on heavily to generate offense. i’m guessing the offense won’t be there until next season.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i hate it too, but it’s not the worst offseason problem we’ve had in recent years.

  • Fivelefts

    I have such high expectations for this kid! I just believe that he will play like that #1 ranked kid, here at IU! I can’t wait! We have some very talented and determined MEN on our team this year! I look at what CTC was able to do with much less athleticism! A squad like this.. dialed in.. Will be something to see!

  • RDD#76

    It just gives CTC options to play big if he wants to with DD next to TB and any combo at the 3 with 3 of them being 6.7ft nice option to have.

  • millzy32

    You get the Captain Obvious statement of the day award:)

  • millzy32

    If he truly played like the #1 rated kid then he’d probably be as good or better than Thomas Bryant. That’s probably quite a stretch but I hope you’re right.

  • SCHoosier


  • ForeverIU

    I love Alex’s writing in this piece. Not that I don’t like Alex’s writing in general, but this piece had an affective/emotional voice and tone to it that made it particularly moving but without being sentimental and weepy, reminding us throughout of the human being behind the showman (I mean as in De’Ron).

  • Bill Graham

    I know the height debate has been prevalent lately. Imagine a lineup with CuJo 6’4, Collin 6’6, O.G. 6’8, DD 6’9, and Thomas 6’10. Thats a huge lineup with good d too!

  • Newman

    Do we know specifics about the “academic requirements”? Did he neglect to take required courses for admission? Or did he come up short with his grades? If the former, we could bIame a bureaucratic snafu; if the latter, that would send up some red flags. Hate to be a Debbie Downer on this, but regardless of the reason, I’m lowering my expectations.

  • ForeverIU

    You’re not a Debbie Downer. You’re just plain heartless. I don’t think you understand or care what the kid had to go through.

  • jimmygoiu

    It would be great if DD would progress thru the year as TB did. IU would be a beast come tourney time. I am picking IU as an elite 8 team, as we have depth and talent.

  • RDD#76

    It’s just nice to have the option to go small or big plus I will do your lineup even better J(Magic)Morgan at the point

  • You know, stuff happens to the best of us. Seriously, while I’m bummed for the kid himself in terms of missing out on the fun and development over the summer, and of course for the program, I’m not going to get bent out of shape because some t wasn’t crossed.

  • Newman

    Why does asking legitimate questions about his academic issues make me heartless and unsympathetic? Doesn’t follow.

  • Ole Man

    Have to disagree with this one buddy. Legitimate questions.
    His last sentence was unnecessary, however.

  • Ole Man

    Legitimate questions.
    Followed by the editorial last sentence.

  • inLinE6

    His contribution won’t be heavily reflected from the stats, in the first year. He could be a beast once he polishes up a bit, gets a full summer in b-town, and TB leaves for NBA. I expect him to be a 2 or 3 year player. He definitely possesses the physicality and still growing. If he does stay for his junior year, he can be the most dominant big man in the country.

  • ForeverIU

    His last sentence is where he was going, not an afterthought. The kid’s father died, he gained weight due to bad diet and lots of traveling, and probably because of depression. These kids are not machines. His scholarship allows him some lateness in arriving. It sounds like the kid is putting his life back together.

    Let’s just relax. Enough anger coming from Donald Downer tonight. LOL.

  • ForeverIU

    Because you didn’t show any acknowledgment or sensitivity to the kids special circumstances; namely, his dad’s passing and his physical/health challenges.

  • HardRockHoosier

    Yes, but remember he was number 1 in Colorado.. which while really great, probably not as highly regarded as a number 1 in Indiana or maybe some of the East Coast States or even say California for example. But you’re right, I hope he plays like a number 1.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    Agreed, I had read DD story last year and had commented that he is a quality young man, in addition to his basketball skills.
    I feel a kinship with him in that I had the same problem before college.
    My grandfather use to tell me. “It’s easy to be a good guy when the sun is shinning, but it’s how you react when it’s raining that tells what kind of man you are.”

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’ll share what I know about the academic issue he’s had to clear up. To my knowledge, the class he was missing was/is a math class that is required by Indiana University for admission (but not required by Colorado high schools for him to graduate). He could have opted to back out of his commitment to Indiana and enroll at a different university…one that did not require this additional math course…but he elected to take the course so that he could play at IU. He’s having to take the course right now, by all accounts, that’s going well (although, you never know, I suppose) and he’s hoping/planning to arrive at IU in time for the start of the fall semester. A similar thing has happened to a few football players during the course of the past 12-18 months so this isn’t unheard of.

    Hopefully De’Ron can complete the required academic issues with no complications, arrive on campus on-time and begin to enjoy his time as an IU basketball player.

  • ForeverIU

    I think on one of the other threads someone mentioned that the situation you described is Freddie McSwain’s?

  • CreamandCrimson

    I don’t know anything about Freddie McSwain’s situation. What I wrote has to do with De’Ron Davis and I heard it described this way to me by a person in Colorado and read it on another IU site…I won’t provide the link because that tends to get posts flagged for some reason. I believe it to be the truth but, as I wrote, this is “to my knowledge” and my knowledge could be inaccurate.

  • TomJameson

    Hahaha … please, nobody at the true point position except Josh or Robert and maybe JBJ when there is no pressure. By that I mean bringing the ball up the court, especially if there is pressure.

    I think you’ll see Juwan start the offense at the top of the key like Troy did, but I also think you’ll see some of that from several players. And I’m okay with that, just don’t want to turn the ball over just bringing it up court.

    Okay, maybe Juwan will bring the ball up court if there is absolutely no pressure. The type of situation where I could bring it up okay. lol

  • Lance76

    I seem to recall Chauncey Billups in the early 90,s. If DeRon is anywhere close to Chauncey, I am OK with that. I seem to remember Chauncey bouncing IU from March Madness, but could be wrong on that memory.

  • TomJameson

    Come on SC, get over it. 🙂 I certainly agree that it should have been caught, but sometimes an item can simply slip through the cracks, even something like that. I also think he’s missing a lot of what’s going on at IU, most significantly the scrimmages and practices, but water under the bridge now.

    I’d bet it’s all been addressed internally.

  • TomJameson

    Good point HardRock. That might be an interesting exercise to take the #1s of all the states that have those, and compare their national rankings. If I do that I’ll share somewhere.

  • TomJameson

    CC, this is my understanding as well, of course same “to my knowledge” disclaimer. lol

    Freddie McSwain is a Juco transfer, right? I think his high school requirements have been met.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’m more in-tune with the inner workings of IU’s football program and I don’t have nearly the same connections in IU’s basketball program so, this is mostly guesswork for me. I can say with 100% confidence that a recent IU football JUCO transfer was unable to play last season because of a math class he needed to finish and perhaps McSwain is in the same boat…who knows? It does seem the math requirements for admission to IU are different or more extensive than most. But perhaps this is just a cluster of incidents (four that I can think of with basketball and football players in the past 12 months) that is clouding my thinking there.

  • TomJameson

    Well, that is very interesting. Thanks for that piece of info!

  • ForeverIU

    I went back and looked at the conversation. Fivelefts made a comment similar to yours about De’Ron, then Loop and VegasHoosier responded saying that the information was correct, but wrong player. I don’t have any information myself other than what I read on ITH, so I was just drawing your attention to the other conversation on ITH that I was privy to.

  • Hardwood83

    “I’m more in-tune with the inner workings of IU’s football program and I don’t have nearly the same connections in IU’s basketball program…”
    Sounds like you have some work to do. Log off and start cultivating your basketball inside sources for this coming season!

  • CreamandCrimson

    Thanks…I was away from ITH comments for a bit of time (busy with life-stuff) and I must have missed that conversation. Maybe they are correct, maybe I am correct, maybe we both are correct…the pessimist would say that we are all wrong (and they’d probably end up correct haha) and we have no clue what we are talking about.

  • IUDan

    I’m really excited for De’Ron to get on campus. My brother teaches in the Cherry Creek school district (which is where Overland is) and he speaks very highly of him – apparently he has a reputation as a true leader and a great young man.

    My brother and his family went to watch a few playoff games, which is where he realized he was going to IU (my brother is not an IU grad and doesn’t follow basketball as closely) – he called me after the game to tell me DD is a great pickup for the Hoosiers.

    The other thing I took from this piece is how Crean and staff stayed with him through his ups and downs – I think that shows a strong belief in themselves and a commitment to these kids beyond just the basketball court …which is nice to hear. I think DD will be a great Hoosier!

  • CreamandCrimson

    One of my side jobs/passions is writing for an IU football site so, my knowledge of that program is well-used. It’s more having connections and a history of working with the program than having an “inside scoop”…I’ll leave the basketball side to the experts and just keep on being a fan here.

  • Arch Puddington

    Thanks for this post. Anything that delays or complicates a player’s eligibility causes concern, but hopefully things are exactly as you describe and he passes what should be a pretty straightforward class . IU requires seven semesters of high school for admission: 4 of algebra (algebra I and II), 2 of geometry, and 1 of precalc, trigonometry, or calculus.

    Based on your post, I would bet that Colorado only requires three years (i.e., 6 semesters) of math, so he is presumably taking a class to complete that 1 additional semester. Pre-calc, trig, and calculus are not the easiest classes, but a bright kid with the right focus and support should be able to pass. Whatever is going on, I look forward to seeing him play.

  • SilentBob

    One tough kid man. I’m a total momma’s boy, but I’m trying to imagine growing up in high school without my dad to straighten me out and it’s pretty ugly. I bet his mom is one hell of a woman. Can’t wait to get this kid on the court and in the community,

  • IULore

    I think stat wise he’ll be at least as good as Max

  • KYHoosier

    I watched him on TV while we were recruiting him before he committed and I thought he seemed like he was out of shape bc he struggled running up and down the floor. I think once he gets to B-Town, Thomas will take him under his wing and push him like he has never been pushed. I think if he gets in top shape and works on his game some, then he has potential to be a Niguel Hayes type player.

  • TomJameson

    FWIW … I created a spreadsheet and posted it on a new thread on the paid forum.

    I listed the #1 recruit from each state, his star rating, his numeric rating, and where he has committed. I also averaged out the star and numeric ratings so you can compare somebody to the average.

    edit** Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to attach a file here, don’t think it can be done.

  • John D Murphy

    Or if they are playing 1 v 1 full court. JM bringing it up against a 4 may be a better match up than JBJ against defensive 1.

  • TokyoSteve

    If the IU football site is other than Hoosier Huddle or Punt John Punt, I’d like to know the name. I’m always looking for more content on IU football.

  • CreamandCrimson

    It is Hoosier Huddle (my name is TJ). I hope you enjoy our coverage and thanks for reading!

  • flagged for bringing up that name

  • TokyoSteve

    Last week on my subway commute into Tokyo I was listening to one of your podcasts and heard one of you guys talking about something you noticed while recently watching a replay of a non-IU B1G game. That impressed on me why you guys are so knowledgeable about all B1G teams and how IU stacks up against them. I’ve been enjoying the pieces on each of the IU players in the countdown to the start of the season and am really looking forward to your on-site coverage of the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago this week.Thanks for your great work!