Of all the time Onsted’s Austin Davis has spent in a gym playing basketball, who knew that SWAT training was the key to a college scholarship?
Michigan coach John Beilein called Davis on Thursday and, for much of the conversation, Beilein spoke about how impressed he was when he saw the way Davis, 6-feet-10, was running the floor at last weekend’s AAU tournament in Dallas.
“When we were at our visit last time, he kind of — I don’t know if ‘challenged’ would be the right word — but he kind of talked about one of my weaknesses is running the floor,” Davis said. “That’s a big one, and we’ve really worked on it these last few weeks.”
Davis did more than just run wind sprints in the Onsted gym. A few weeks ago, the Davis family was among a group of families that spent spring break in Destin, Fla., and Davis and his some of his buddies did much more than hang out on the beach.
“One of our family friends is, like, SWAT,” Davis said. “He was putting us through some pretty rigorous workouts when we were down there. It must have helped a little.”
It must have helped because Davis’ improved mobility dominated the conversation Beilein had with the youngster Thursday, at least before the coach made him an offer he didn’t refuse.
“He said that he really saw a major change in that when we were in Dallas,” Davis said. “For the first few minutes, that’s kind of the conversation I thought it would be. So we kind of talked about that for a little bit, and then he offered me.”
Davis is the No. 2-ranked junior recruit in the state, behind only U-D Jesuit’s Cassius Winston. The first-team Class B all-stater averaged 26 points and 17 rebounds and scored 30 on the ACT, with a 4.1 grade-point average.
He also was heavily recruited by Wisconsin, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Michigan State.
Onsted coach Brad Maska believes that Davis has all of the tools to be an outstanding Big Ten player.
“He’s got tremendous work ethic; he’s got phenomenal fundamentals,” Maska said. “He’s got great hands. He is very skilled and can do a lot of different things, not just passing and shooting, but he rebounds the ball extremely well with his length.”
Although he made unofficial visits to a number of schools, U-M’s offer was the one Davis had been hoping for.
“I’m a Michigan kid through and through growing up, watching Michigan football play at the Big House,” he said. “I’ve been going to Michigan basketball games at Crisler. It’s a dream come true to play there. Just dreaming about it, being able to do this as a kid, it’s truly amazing. It’s a great school; can’t go wrong with that. I just feel really comfortable with all the coaches. I’m excited.”
Davis is U-M’s second member of the class of 2016, joining Medina (Ohio) center Jon Teske, also 6-10, who committed in August 2014.
Maska said Davis’ performance in Dallas cleared up any concern over his ability to motor up and down the court.
“If you come watch a game that I coach, I ask him to play 32 minutes, and he’s going to get tired at 6-10, 260,” he said. “In Dallas this last weekend, he was asked to play six or seven minutes at a time and he was running the floor and doing some of the things that some of the coaches had wanted to see him do.”
Free Press sports writer Mark Snyder contributed to this report.