Jordan Wells / TheHoosier.com
The Hoosiers lost starting center Thomas Bryant to the NBA this spring, and Davis was the immediate and logical choice to fill that void. Taking on that role meant changing his diet and his body during the offseason, and Davis didn’t have to think twice about staying in Bloomington over the summer to accomplish the task.
He just had to convince one person it was the right move.
“The only thing is I had to talk to my mom about it,” Davis said. “She kind of wanted to see me, especially after the long year. When I told her that, for me to reach my goals, for me to do what I want to do, I've got to get in shape, I've got to be ready to dominate this year. So she was all for it.”
The first step toward becoming a dominant player began in May with the implementation of a 12-week offseason program designed to improve Davis’ conditioning.
Working with IU’s new director of athletic performance, Clif Marshall, Davis underwent a 21-pound weight loss transformation through improved diet and exercise.
Already, Davis has noticed a difference as practice gets underway.
“Just finishing above the rim honestly,” Davis said. “Just being able to, you know, in practice consistently dunk, consistently talk to my teammates. Last year I know that, when I got tired in practice, I kind of got quiet, but this year I'm starting to not be as quiet, be more of a vocal leader and also a visual leader. Just my main focus is trying to play above the rim, try to be athletic, try to be fast with my moves, be precise with my moves.”
Davis averaged 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game across 34 contests during his freshman season, shooting 48.5 percent from the field. With the departures of Bryant, OG Anunoby and James Blackmon Jr. – three of IU’s top four scorers from a year ago – Miller will count on Davis to be one of his go-to scoring options this season.
“I think De'Ron is a very gifted offensive player for all the things that people want to see in frontcourt players, jumping, all that good stuff,” Miller said. “De'Ron has terrific footwork, amazing hands, and great touch. I think he can score the ball for us.”
While the majority of the praise was directed toward Davis’ offensive strides, Davis has also seen his offseason program positively affect his defense.
“Defensively, I think I'm going to be way better,” he said. “In high school, I took pride on defense, and me coming in late, out of shape, kind of hindered that a lot. Me defensively, run up and down the court, and me just really focus on fouling, keeping my hand straight up, just not getting any little fouls to take me out of the game.”
Now poised for a bigger role, Davis is ready for the season to get started.
“Last year I was a freshman coming in pretty nervous,” Davis said. “This year I'm ready to get the ball rolling and have a great year as a team and individually.”
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