MUSKEGON – , Size wasn’t the only thing that stood out when incoming Muskegon boys basketball coach Keith Guy got his first glimpse of Deyonta Davis.
Davis had completed his first high school season as a 6-foot-5 post player on the freshmen team and Guy, who made a coaching change from Muskegon Heights, saw the potential for big things ahead because of the athletic ability and coordination Davis possessed for a young big man.
“The first time I got with him in the summer, you could see the potential was there. His jump shot needed some tweaking, but he had all the natural ability,” Guy said. “It was just a matter of sharpening his skills and getting him to play hard.”
Now as a high school senior, that’s all come together for the Michigan State-bound Davis, who at 6-foot-10 and 230 pounds has become one of the nation’s top recruits and the state’s lone representative on the McDonald’s All-American team.
Davis averages 18.5 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks a game and shot 67 percent from the field and foul line. Muskegon, last year’s Class A state champion, was back in the title hunt this season and had a 23-1 record going into the state quarterfinals.
For his efforts, Davis was named the Player of the Year on The Associated Press all-state squad. He is a repeat choice as a first-team all-stater and also was named Mr. Basketball.
“A lot of people say he doesn’t play hard,” Guy said. “He makes it look effortlessly. You don’t get 20 rebounds and 10-12 blocks a night and not work hard.”
The offensive numbers are one thing, but what helps set Davis apart is his ability to dominate the game on the defensive end. He set a state record for blocks in a season with 199 as a junior and stands No. 2 on the state’scareer list.
“Whether he blocks a shot or not, people know where he’s at and where he’s coming from,” Guy said. “He’s definitely a game changer in that aspect. I don’t think many players can do that.”
Davis said blocking shots is his favorite part of the game.
“The ball goes up, it’s just going to go the other way,” he said. “That’s what’s in my head. When I’m playing somebody, they throw the ball up, it’s gone. It’s going the other way.”
Davis uses everything to his advantage. Of course, there’s his height. But it’s also his wing span, jumping ability, quickness and timing that all play a factor.
Guy said Davis also has made big strides in his confidence and leadership role in the past year. Guy said Davis is a team-first player and doesn’t get caught up with his individual accomplishments.
“I always go back to how far he’s come in a short 2 1/2 to 3 years,” Guy said. “I’ve watched him grow up and mature as a person, student and basketball player. He’s always looking for ways to get better and improve.”
Davis was joined on the first team by teammate Joeviair Kennedy. Saginaw Arthur Hill also had two players on the first team in Eric Davis and Brian Bowen. Rounding out the first team are Cassius Winston of Detroit Jesuit, Trevor Manuel of Lansing Everett, Jaylin Walker of Romulus, Foster Loyer of Clarkston, Mike Edwards of Westland John Glenn, Brailen Neely of Detroit Western and Demetrius Lake of Holland.
Jeff Anama, who led East Kentwood to a 20-0 regular season, was selected the Coach of the Year.
The Associated Press Class A boys basketball All-State team, as selected by a panel of 10 Michigan sports writers:
Deyonta Davis, Muskegon, Sr., Player of the Year
Brian Bowen, Saginaw Arthur Hill, So.
Eric Davis, Saginaw Arthur Hill, Sr.
Mike Edwards, Westland John Glenn, Sr.
Joeviair Kennedy, Muskegon, Sr.
Demetrius Lake, Holland, So.
Foster Loyer, Clarkston, Fr.
Trevor Manuel, Everett, Sr.
Brailen Neely, Detroit Western, Jr.
Jaylin Walker, Romulus, Sr.
Cassius Winston, Detroit Jesuit, Jr.
Coach of the year:
Jeff Anama, East Kentwood
Special mention (nominees receiving two or more votes from the 10-member panel):
Deleon Brown, Grand Rapids Christian; Devon Daniels, Kalamazoo Central; Jake Daniels, Holly; Tyler Pintar, Alpena; Jeron Rogers, North Farmington; Xavier Tillman, Grand Rapids Forest Hills; Frank Vukaj, Davison.
Malek Adams, Grand Ledge; Dylan Alderson, Davison; Corey Allen, Ypsilanti; Zach Allread, West Bloomfield; Tre’Von Avery, Grand Blanc; Chris Barton, Auburn Hills Avondale; Matt Beachler, Lowell; Gerald Blackshear, Detroit Western; Braden Burke, Stevensville-Lakeshore; Xavier Cochran, Ann Arbor Huron; Conner Crawford, Northview; Conner George, Okemos; Justin Greason, Utica Eisenhower; Kevin Hayes, Birmingham Brother Rice; Devin Haygood, Ypsilanti Lincoln; Brent Hibbitts, Hudsonville; Marquell Ingram, Detroit Pershing; Jamryn Jackson, Lansing Everett; Jermaine Jackson, Macomb Dakota; Trishton Jackson, West Bloomfield; Cassell Jones, Grand Ledge; Walter Kelser, Walled Lake Central; Ben Kill, Dexter; Brent Kimberl, East Kentwood; Tommy Leonard, Middleville; Spencer Littleson, Rochester Adams; Alec Marty, Midland Dow; Josh McFolley, Detroit Western; Karmari Newman, Detroit East English; Jeron Rogers, North Farmington; Jackson Schrameyer, TC Central; Alex Scott, TC West; Ronquavious Southward, Saginaw; Nick Staten, Wyoming; Shonte’ Suddeth, Jackson; Jalen Thompson, Ann Arbor Huron; Jovon Thomason, Port Huron; Chris Triplett, Flushing; Justin Turner, Detroit Renaissance; John Van Hoef, Troy Athens; Jalen Weekley, Owosso; Wendell White, Battle Creek Central; Lance Windon, Ottawa Hills; Muhammed Zahr, Dearborn Fordson.
Coaches: Donald Ferguson, Lansing Everett; Dan Fife, Clarkston; Derrick McDowell, Detroit Western.
Voting panel: Paul Beroza, Morning Sun (Mount Pleasant); Bill Broderick, Battle Creek Enquirer; Brian Calloway, Lansing State Journal; James Cook, Traverse City Record-Eagle; David Goricki, The Detroit News; Steve Kaminski, MLive.com-The Grand Rapids Press; Mark Opfermann, MLive.com-The Muskegon Chronicle; Tim Robinson, Livingston County Daily Press & Argus (Howell); Jason Schmitt, The Oakland Press (Pontiac); Eric Woodyard, MLive-Flint.