Rosemont, Ill. — A week ago, former Michigan State forward Deyonta Davis said at the NBA Combine that his plan all along was to spend just one season playing for the Spartans.
Davis told reporters it was the plan he discussed with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
On Tuesday at the Big Ten’s spring meetings at the conference’s headquarters near Chicago, Izzo wasn’t so sure the meaning of what Davis said was relayed accurately.
“I don’t think that’s the way he meant it,” Izzo said. “I sit down with my guys, ‘What’s your goals for the year? Let’s have goals for the year.’ Every kid, my manager’s goal is to be one-and-done. My wife’s goal is to be one-and-done. Everybody’s goal is to be one-and-done. If so, why didn’t he just decide at the end of the year? He didn’t. That’s where these kids, you have to give him a break. They don’t know. … I don’t think it was meant in that context at all, because it was a very amicable deal.
“Did I think he was going pro? Did anybody think he thought he was going pro throughout the year? No, not even close. I think he meant, ‘We sat down, we had a meeting, what are your goals, would you like to be one-and-done? Is that one of your goals?’ Well, yeah.”
Davis made the decision to turn pro and sign with an agent just three weeks after Michigan State was upset in the first round the NCAA Tournament by Middle Tennessee State.
He is the second one-and-done player for Izzo, the first being Zach Randolph in 2001. Erazem Lorbek left after one year in 2003 to play in Europe. Davis is also the first Michigan State player to leave early since Gary Harris left after his sophomore season in 2014.
It’s something that could become more of an issue for Izzo and the Spartans considering the recruiting class coming in for next season. Forward Miles Bridges is a probable one-and-done and guard Joshua Langford is a five-star player who could also fall in that category.
However, it’s something Izzo says is on the minds of every player and won’t change the way he approaches things.
“Every year, I talk to them about what their goals are,” Izzo said “And when I recruit them, you talk to them … I mean, I’m not going to tell you who, but I’m going to tell you I had a kid (last year) I wanted to redshirt, but his goal was to be out in two years. And he didn’t play much. This is every kid we recruit now. Every kid has that as a goal. Every kid thinks that.”
By early in the Big Ten season mock drafts were coming out listing Davis as a first-round pick and the buzz started building. Davis started getting asked about the possibility of leaving and as more time passed, his name came up more and more in relation to the draft.
Izzo said he doesn’t think the speculation affected Davis’ play, but the media frenzy can get out of hand.
“If it comes out that he’s 10th or eighth like one had him, and then somebody asks me, what am I supposed to say?” Izzo said. “Well, if he’s the eighth pick he should go. Who says he’s the eighth pick? Like somebody says he’s got a guarantee he’s in the top 12, or a team’s going to take him 11 or 12, this is what I get over the years. I talked to one of my GM buddies, ‘Well, how could they guarantee him that, when we don’t drop the (lottery) balls until (Tuesday night)? We don’t even know who it’s going to be.’ That’s how ridiculous it gets.”