Davis: One-and-done was the plan all along

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Chicago — Deyonta Davis wasn’t sure what to expect in his freshman season at Michigan State.

But he had a good idea what would happen after it: getting to the NBA.

Davis, a power forward who is the first one-and-done for the Spartans since Zach Randolph in 2001, is looking to make a positive impression at the NBA Draft combine this week. While he goes through the interviews, drills and measurements, he’s getting to know NBA teams — and they’re getting to know him as well.

Though shy with the media, Davis said he was more vocal in his individual interviews this week, which included the Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, Utah Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks.

Davis, a Muskegon native, set his sights on the NBA even before his freshman year, in consulting with his high school coach, along with MSU coach Tom Izzo.

“I felt like I was just ready for (the draft),” Davis said Thursday at the draft combine. “It was a goal that me and coach Izzo set for myself — and I achieved it.”

Davis is projected to be selected in the middle of the first round, but with his workouts and interviews, could even improve on that position.

He said one of his biggest hidden assets was his shooting, which he didn’t get to show much with the talent-laden Spartans this season. Davis was valued more for his defense and rim protection, skills that will translate well to the NBA.

“I can hit the 3, but (MSU) didn’t give me a chance to show them. We’re working on my ball-handling,” Davis said. “I’m much better as far as shooting the ball outside the perimeter and I’m a hard worker.”

Davis measured just over 6-foot-9 without shoes at the combine and had the third-highest standing reach, at 9-feet, 1/2-inch.

Davis is looking to show that he’s strong in his athleticism and ability to guard multiple positions, which will be a must as a pro. Those questions already have begun this week, but he’s ready to show it in individual workouts with teams as well.

“At some point in time, you have to guard more than just your man, so you might as well be prepared for it,” he said.

Although he wasn’t used extensively in the offense, which fed off national player of the year Denzel Valentine and a corps of long-range shooters, Davis thought throughout the season that he could make it to the NBA quickly. But the thought finally hit him that it could be a reality late in the season.

“I always kept in my mind that I could be a one-and-done,” he said. “It was just something I set for myself.”

Davis is training at the P3 training facility in Santa Barbara, Calif. as he prepares for individual workouts with teams and he’s getting some sound advice from another Spartan who’s had to build his own career in the NBA.

“I talked to Draymond Green and he was telling me since I’m coming out, there’s going to be more expected,” Davis said. “I can’t have days off, no bad games, no bad practices and I’m going against grown men who do this for a living.”

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard