Davis aiming to reset his approach

The downtime has allowed De’Ron Davis to reflect critically and thoughtfully about his sophomore year.

This season wasn’t what he thought it could’ve been.

Assessing his campaign now, a month after an Achilles injury robbed him of the final eight weeks of action, Davis sees where he went wrong.

He also sees where he wants to go from here.

Davis only recently had the stitches removed from his right foot following his January surgery, and has another six-to-nine months to navigate until he will be cleared for a full slate of basketball activities.

In the meantime, he’s compiled a list of goals to achieve for when that day finally arrives.

“I just honestly want to get back to how I was in high school,” Davis said. “Since I’ve been in college, I feel like I’ve gotten away form my game in high school. I just want to be more aggressive on the offensive end and defensive end. I want to play more freely and have more fun out on the court and just enjoy the game.”

Davis said he was pleased with how the month of November unfolded, including an impressive 16-point, five-rebound performance against No. 1 Duke on Nov. 29. But Davis acknowledged he struggled through a prolonged slump until he injured his Achilles in practice on Jan. 4.

After averaging 11.5 points and 4.4 rebounds through his first 10 games, Davis managed only 5.8 ppg and 4.0 rpg over his final five contests. At the line, where he shot 50 percent, Davis struggled from start to finish.

“If I had to grade it, my season was probably a D season coming off last year, which was like an F season,” Davis said. “Not too much improvement besides my conditioning.”

Spending the past month on the sideline has motivated Davis to find ways to achieve a passing grade next season.

He wants to demonstrate better athleticism, while also expanding his range as a shooter. Davis doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as merely a post-up big man. Most of all, he wants to illustrate for everyone that he can be a more versatile presence on both ends of the floor.

Now, Davis is approaching the recovery process as a system reset with the hope of getting to where he wants to be next season.

“I think that’s gonna be the blessing in disguise with this injury,” said Danny Fisher, Davis’ former coach at Overland High School in Aurora, Colo. “It’s gonna give him a big ‘Why’ — why he needs to approach this in a business fashion, why he needs to be as hungry as he’s ever been as a basketball player because he’s left so much on the table. He hasn’t consistently shown that he can run the floor, or that he can defend like I know he can and that he can shoot the ball. He has to prove that at this level. It starts with proving that to your coaching staff and teammates and developing that trust.”

This is the first major injury Davis has suffered, so the initial recovery process has been new terrain for the 21-year-old to navigate.

But he hasn’t gone at it alone.

In addition to those inside IU’s program, Davis has leaned on Fisher for support. When Davis called home the night of the injury, he was still processing the situation. But he wasn’t hanging his head.

In the weeks since that night, Fisher has reminded Davis that he must now apply the same focused approach to his rehab that he used to apply to playing games and practicing.

It’s a challenge Davis is willing to accept. After losing his father at an early age, Davis understands true adversity. An injury is unfortunate, but it’s merely a small hurdle in the process of long-term improvement.

“I feel like I’m a pretty strong-minded dude,” Davis said. “When it happened, (there) wasn’t too much I could do. Everything happens for a reason.”

The reason here? Perhaps a chance to re-apply and re-invent himself across the final two years of his college career.

Already, Davis is taking honest inventory of the good, the bad and the goals he has yet to reach.

“I’m hoping this gives him an opportunity to reset what he can be,” Fisher said. “That’s the hope.”


  1. One of my kids lost their junior year of athletics in high school as the result of an after the whistle cheap shot from behind. He became a monster after that. He went from a nose to the grindstone plugger to a juggernaut.

    You just never know how an injury will impact a player psychologically.

  2. I wish Davis well with his recovery. IU needs productive big men. Davis has a lot of things to correct. He needs to make free throws, play defense without constantly getting in foul trouble, get in better condition to play hard for longer stretches and greatly improve his offensive skills. I don’t know how you improve athletically at his age. But perhaps it’s possible. I was surprised how his jumping ability is limited as he played beneath the rim, rarely dunking the ball and certainly not rebounding with consistency. So it is good to hear he has a new attitude, which is a good place to start. I hope for him and IU, it results in a more complete player.

  3. Sounds like he’s got the right support system in place, great desire and a positive attitude. It takes Big most big men longer to fully develop , and he’s still got a lot of time left. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

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