Hoops Hello: Austin Davis Comment Count

Brian April 17th, 2015 at 12:09 PM


Last night Michigan picked up a commit from in-state 2016 C Austin Davis, a guy I don't think many people knew Michigan was even tracking. That, his currently-thin recruiting profile, and, frankly, his ears, have a certain brand of Michigan fan headed to Ann Arbor Torch and Pitchfork about this development.

I mean…

…stop it. If there is a place where any Michigan coach has earned public opinion leeway, it is John Beilein recruiting three-star basketballists.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, UR 3*, UR 3*, #27 C, #5 MI NR --

Davis is on the sites' radars as a generic three star center, but only just.


Davis is consistently listed at 6'10" and depending on when you get the article, at anywhere from 240 to 260—he'll come in looking more like Ricky Doyle than DJ Wilson.

He is consistently among the FG% leaders at AAU tournaments, hitting 62% at "Unrivaled" in Chicago and 65% at the "Gauntlet" in Dallas just last week. There he impressed a number of observers. SpartanMag's Paul Konyndyk after Davis put up 16 and 10 (on ten shots) against Ike Anigbogu, who was just offered by UCLA:

That performance was among the best of the weekend for Davis, who outplayed rising Corona (CA) Centennial center Ike Anigbogu, who scored just seven points against the Mustangs. …

Davis is a skilled big man with good footwork, solid post moves, and the ability to finish with either hand. It is only a matter of time before the small school standout begins pilling up major conference offers.

That performance was just a couple days ago and got a lot of major schools' attention. Vandy's 247 site said to keep an eye on him as a "highly skilled post" who was "highly effective" and that the Commodores were intrigued. A Northwestern writer also highlighted him:

“He just gets [stuff] done,” said one assistant coach who watched Davis’ 16-point, 10-rebound, three-block game against the Compton Magic.

Davis isn’t the most athletic player or elite in any one area, but he’s a productive all-around player. He showed soft hands with the ball, and good touch on his hook shots. A handful of his points against the Magic came in 1-on-1 battles against Ike Anigbogu, one of the best post defenders on the Adidas circuit. Davis flashed good footwork on a hook shot against Anigbogu, and also beat him on the block a couple times.

On multiple occasions during the weekend’s games, Davis got the ball just outside the paint and patiently worked around a defender into the paint to score. He also scored several times in in back-to-the-basket situations, putting the ball on the floor and finishing nicely.

He was just 2 of 9 from the free throw line at the Gauntlet, so that's a thing to work on.

Davis is a pound-it-inside, power-dribble, finish from the block kind of guy. Sam Webb($):

Davis is a 6-10, 245 lb. throwback big.  He is a true back-to-the-basket big man.  On the in-state basketball scene he has earned the nickname “Big Country” after former Oklahoma State and then Vancouver Grizzlies standout Bryant “Big Country” Reeves. Davis lives in the paint, is best scoring over his left shoulder but has occasionally shown the ability to score over his right, can beat opponents with a good drop step as well, and has good hands in the post.

Davis himself on his proficiency down low

What they saw was a guy that was really comfortable down on the blocks, where he showed he could finish well with either hand.

"My low post game has always been my major strength," said Davis. "I'm trying to improve my shooting. To be able step up and shoot threes a little bit. I've gotten better with high post jumpers."

He's working and working and working and putting things on the internet. He's also pretty aware of his deficiencies and what he has to do to remedy them:

“I definitely need to improve speed,” Davis said. “My foot quickness, stuff like that. I need to get into better shape. Those are a lot of the main areas, and just continuing to progress and getting stronger.”

Davis also spoke with Balanis about similarities he shares with Irish forward Zach Auguste and the strengths of his game.

“I’d consider myself very strong with my back to the basket and in the low post,” Davis said. “We’ve worked on expanding my game to be able to face up and my jump shot.”

Davis is also young. He is currently 16 and won't turn 17 until the end of the summer, so he'll arrive on campus days after hitting 18.


Michigan was the first major school to offer Davis; before that he had MAC offers and interest from big chunks of the Big Ten and Notre Dame. He took unofficials to Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa in addition to the in-state schools. Perusing various 247 content gives the impression that Wisconsin assistant Greg Gard was a major proponent of the guy. Gard is a good guy to have in your corner if you're a gawky high school post.


Davis is Class B Shaq:

The junior scored 45 points in a game on two occasions, and even had a triple-double with 33 points, 27 rebounds and 10 blocks. His averages of 26.2 points, 17.3 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game earned him AP Class B Player of the Year honors in Michigan, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Davis also had a 3.95 GPA as of last year.


There's a ton, from workouts when he was a freshman to Davis being high school Shaq at 6'2" guys going pro in something other than sports to full Onsted Wildcats games. In the Class B regional finals against Milan he opens the game with a missed dunk on an alley-oop.

This went up in January and is amongst the most recent:

This is from last summer:

As is this:

This went up in November:

The video shows a mostly below-the-rim big, and while this is highlight tape you can get some hints of things he does well. He makes a number of tough catches in these videos; he finishes with both hands from in a variety of situations; he seems to have good footwork with which to reposition for layups after a power dribble.


Posts are tough to project and Davis is tougher than most because of the level of competition he generally goes against. He'll probably take a redshirt and hit Camp Sanderson, whereupon the sluggishness that does show up on film (and is something Davis himself points out as his most pressing issue) should be mitigated. How much? I don't know. I do like bigs with good hands and the ability to finish with either.

With Doyle and Donnal in front of him plus Teske, Michigan can let Davis develop until he's a redshirt sophmore, whereupon he should have a productive, Jordan-Morgan-esque career.


Michigan's going to have a lot of fouls to give at the five, I guess? They are currently scheduled to have this setup at center in 2016-17:

  • Doyle, Jr.
  • Donnal, Jr.*
  • Teske, Fr.
  • Davis, Fr.

And that's not even counting DJ Wilson, who could well be skrong like bull by then. So this is a weird commitment given the composition of Michigan's roster. I do like the prospect of a parade of upper-class bigs. It's likely that one of Teske or Davis ends up redshirting, which is a good thing for a project big who isn't likely to be on NBA radars. See: Jordan Morgan.

They have two scholarships definitely opening up (Albrecht and LeVert) from guards; they have filled those slots with posts. If they thought someone was transferring—which Beilein has explicitly said isn't happening and Webb re-asserted just today($)—they probably would have taken a swing at 2015 big Mike Edwards. Instead Edwards committed to Georgia after Michigan got Moritz Wagner.

There's almost certainly going to be some additional attrition that opens up a slot or two (Hatch, Irvin to the NBA, maybe guys who get lost in the shuffle this year) with which Michigan pursues a point guard and one of their 6'6" SG/SF archetypes. I would imagine post recruiting is done until 2018.


Avon Barksdale

April 17th, 2015 at 12:16 PM ^

I remember Coach Beilein being a little dismayed after the 2014 loss to Kentucky. I think he said something like "They were just above the rim on us - nothing we could really do about it." I think that game left a bad taste in his mouth and he wants enough big guys that can get above the rim to compete with the big teams like Kentucky.


April 17th, 2015 at 3:03 PM ^

Kaminsky also struggled as a JR against UK's height if you recall in the UK v Wiscy game.   It wasn't until he was a SR All american he did well.  And cmon comparing him to Frank Kaminsky is almost as silly as the "projected to Kevin Love" example I saw yesterday.  Everry 6'10 white guy in HS is not going to be the best player in college hoops or a future NBA star - or close. 

Right now he looks like poor man's Doyle to me.  Maybe that changes but they have a lot of the same deficiencies and positives to their games. 


April 17th, 2015 at 6:40 PM ^

Nobody said he was Kaminsky; my point was that whether you play above/below the basket, you can still be effective.  The intimation in the original comment was that because Davis wasn't a huge leaper, he wouldn't be able to handle the types of athletes you see at UK.  Beyond the fact that college basketball has, what, a dozen of those elite big men every year and the chances of a team seeing them is relatively low, it was an example of an athletically-limited guy who could compete against them.  I'm sure there are others, but honestly other than Horford (who played well against UK in the final matchup when he saw a decent amount of court time) I don't know a lot of SEC big men.

Mr. Yost

April 17th, 2015 at 7:35 PM ^

Maybe offensively, but that's it.

He's got hands, solid moves for his age, and very good court awareness. That's it.

He's SLOW as hell and he can't jump. I mean even his shot is slow, he's effective at his level...but he's going to get blocked a ton if he can't elevate or make a quick move to the basket and get the ball on the rim.

I don't like the J-Mo comparison at all. Morgan was just doughy and he wasn't developed offensively...but he had the athleticism and you could see that late in his career he was going to improve as he put things together and worked on his body.

Doyle is more J-Mo (or poor man's McGary)...he can run up and down the floor and bring energy and have an impact on the game. He's not all-B1G right now, but if I said Doyle will be All-B1G his junior and senior year, no one is going to flip out, we can see that trajectory.

My biggest concern about Davis is that he has to get better in non-basketball things first. He's got to run faster and jump higher, but shit --- so do I. Davis has to be able to make a quick move and be more athletic with the ball. He's got to be able to sprint down the floor and draw a charge (since he's never going to be a shot blocker).

Doyle and Morgan could do those things. It wasn't until late in J-Mo's career when he could block a shot, but he was always sliding into position to draw a charge - always.

I'm much more concerned about these things than anything on the court. He's got to his his non-basketball/generic to any sport "attributes" up. That's hard to do.


April 17th, 2015 at 12:51 PM ^

It's one thing to be tall.  It's another thing to be able to elevate above the rim and make plays up there.  Playing above the rim means being able to jump up there and grab rebounds well above the rim, go for alley-oops, elevate above everybody else.  His height is nice, but if he can't block out, smaller, more athletic guys will be able to get up and snag those rebounds.


April 17th, 2015 at 1:20 PM ^

Playing above the rim means that someone's a high flyer, or that most of their work is done through lobs, etc. Someone like DeAndre Jordan is a high flyer. Gets lots of points on lobs, goes over and through people, dunks, etc.

Playing below the rim is more about their post game, footwork, etc. He's not a freak athlete, but rather his post game at 6' 10" probably features the same post moves that mine does at 5' 11".


April 17th, 2015 at 2:56 PM ^

You only mention offense here which is far less important to be able to play "above the rim". Skilled post guys and finishers off the pick and roll are just fine.  Look at the insane efficiency of Jordan Morgan.  He was an outstanding finisher on offense.  It didn't matter much that he was making layups or dunks. Part of that is the genius of Beilien's offense too.

Playing "above the rim" is far more important on the defensive end where a long and athletic player can block and alter shots and get more rebounds.  We got absolutely murdered on the interior this year around the rim (and are typically average at best in this regard) without any kind of shot blocking presence. Opponent 2pt% was very high against us.

The best you can hope for in a below the rim defensive guy is to be in the right spots, keep post guys in front, take charges, and box out for rebounds.  "Below the rim" defenders (Morgan, Doyle, most of the guys we recruit) are taught in most cases to not leave their feet to attempt a block (low likehood of success and high likehood of foul), just get your hands up and turn and block out. A below the rim defender can be fairly effective with high discipline, but what is more effective is someone that can do all those things and block shots without fouling much and sky for rebounds that don't come directly to them.

This guy does not look like he'll be an above the rim defender, but he's young and could grow.


April 17th, 2015 at 3:07 PM ^


So much focus on the offensive end - I truly think the 5 in Beilein's system (unless he is an incredible pick and roll player) need only be a great defensive presence.  He can just rebound and get 8-9 pts on garbage put backs like Dawson does all game with all our long range bombs.  And then seriously make his presence felt on the defensive side of the floor by disallowing all these easy looks at the hoop and stopping 2 offensive rebounds by opponent in same trip.  But that is an above the rim player.  Of which we are not going after.


April 17th, 2015 at 1:47 PM ^

I think the perfect contrast to an above the rim big vs. a below can be seen in the Pistons. Andre Drummond is an athletic freak who can soar high for rebounds out of his area, block shots at a high rate and can catch & finish alley-oops on the offensive end as well as clean up misses for put backs. On the total opposite end of the spectrum is Greg Monroe, he has a pretty good post-up game w/ solid footwork to go along with a decent 15-foot jump shot. His deficiency is that he can't jump over a phone book so unless he gets great box-out position it's hard for him to grab boards and can be a liability on D when it comes to guarding the rim.

Hope that answered your question

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April 17th, 2015 at 12:26 PM ^

I still don't understand this move, unless there are two more spots guaranteed to open up in 2016.

Donnal to graduate in 3 years and transfer perhaps? He will have stayed on campus for both spring/summer sessions and have 3 full school years under his belt after next year, so perhaps that's been discussed.


April 17th, 2015 at 1:09 PM ^

Michigan is now set to have only two true guards on the team in 2016, though Irvin, Chatman, and maybe Robinson might also be able to play some at the two.  And even if we consider Irvin among the possible guards, his hypothetical departure allows you to do nothing but draw even in the guard-type person department. 

This is also another scholarship that can't go to a five-star guy.  We're all aware of what Coach Beilein has done with non-top-100 guys like Burke, JMo, etc.  But Michigan also only made the Final Four and the Elite Eight once it had five-star players in addition to its over-achievers.  I worry that the team is going to be almost nothing but diamons in the rough in the near future. 

I mean none of this as a shot against Davis.  He may be a good player down the road.  But Michigan doesn't need a good player at center in 2016.  They need guards first and then great players at any position.


April 17th, 2015 at 1:46 PM ^

I never said he wouldn't count against the scholarship if he takes a redshirt. 

The redshirt thing is interesting because he wants to play at Michigan so badly that he is willing to do that if the coaches ask him to.


April 17th, 2015 at 3:11 PM ^

NW yes. Wisconsin perhaps. MSU?  They just got two All American big men.  Before that they got Schilling who was top 100.  Before that Matt Costello who was Mr Michigan and top 100.  That is their last 4 big men recruited.  They are going for a different brand of big man.  The type UM should be able to get.


April 17th, 2015 at 1:22 PM ^

a lot of posters need to look in the mirror could have sufficed without discussing the issue again.

Most of that thread was an embarrassment to this blog. 11 Warriors had a thread a while back about douche bag comments on welcome threads and we showed we are no different. It's one thing to question numbers to attack a kid who was excited to come here is uncalled for. He accepted an offer that was given by Beilein. If you aren't happy start a new thread questioning his sanity but either welcome the young man on his welcome thread or STFU.