'Officer down': The aftermath of Detroit officer's fatal shooting

ESPN: MSU’s Davis a ‘legitimate sleeper’ in draft

The Detroit News

Seniors Denzel Valentine of Michigan State and Caris LeVert of Michigan have been among the constants in NBA mock drafts and draft boards.

But, a new name popped up Monday on ESPN’s newest draft board (pay site) ahead of the NBA draft: Michigan State freshman Deyonta Davis.

Davis is No. 17 on the “Big Board 4.0,” just behind LeVert and eight spots ahead of his teammate, Valentine, who returned Sunday from a four-game absence because of knee surgery.

“The early attention at Michigan State has rightfully been focused on Denzel Valentine,” ESPN’s Chad Ford writes, “but a number of scouts have walked away from Spartans games saying Valentine isn’t the best pro prospect on the team.

“There aren’t a lot of elite shot-blockers in this draft and Davis has been a menace in the paint. Factor in his terrific athleticism and the ability to step out and hit from midrange (he’s shooting 51 percent on his 2-point shots this season) and Davis has been quietly rising on draft boards all season.”

Ford called Davis a “legitimate sleeper in the draft.”

Davis is averaging 8.3 points. 5.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 17 games, averaging 17.1 minutes per game.

LeVert dropped two spots from ESPN’s last draft board after missing a couple of games because of a lower-leg injury.

“He has been shooting the ball with range, showing terrific court vision and versatility,” Ford wrote. “And despite being a senior, he’s only 21 years old.”

Valentine also moved down two spots because of injury. He had 10 points, four rebounds and four assists in his return in a victory Sunday at Penn State.

“Before the injury he was widely considered a front-runner for player of the year honors and was moving up in the draft,” Ford wrote. “He keeps his place here late in the first round until scouts can see how well he bounces back from the setback.”