East Lansing, MI
The #2 Michigan State Spartans are 25-5 (12-5) and looking to end the Big Ten regular season on Saturday against the Buckeyes. The Spartans are poised for a #1 seed in the big dance and Izzo is looking at his best chance at a national title since he won his last. There are a lot of reasons why they have reached this point.
His all world freshman big man Deyonta “DD” Davis was one of the most coveted players in the nation coming out of high school last year and he has lived up to the hype. Projections have him going in the top half of the 1st round should he enter the NBA draft after the season, but for now he just keeps getting better.
I sat down with him last month and asked him about being so quiet. Izzo loves vocal players who communicate and some have taken Davis being quiet as selfish or brooding. I can tell you anyone that thinks that about him, doesn’t know him.
Davis is very confident, but amazingly humble and a great young man. So as we sat I asked him about being quiet and he paused, thought and said, “I already know what I know. I like to listen to hear what others think.”
I thought that was one of the best answers I have ever had in all of years of being a journalist and it made me think. Izzo loves one thing more than talking players and that is a smart player. That answer was very smart and it showed how deep the Davis, the pride of Muskego really is.
So I took time this week to ask Izzo about Davis answer to me. Is his youngster deeper than most think? Izzo’s answer was very telling.
“That’s what (Doug) Herner says, my guy up there, my assistant video guy, my resident old school guy, always says. I think he’s dumb like a fox. He plays on. He definitely picks up a lot more than I think we would give him credit for. That means with plays, defenses. He’s had to guard some pretty good people, and again, we do it by committee a little bit, he deserves some credit, but we’re doing some things too to help that, but he definitely picks up on it. It’s hard for somebody that hasn’t had to work extremely hard to be somewhat successful, to try to work harder to be really successful. That’s a difficult task for you, me or him, and when you’re 18, it’s a real difficult task, because you probably haven’t run into the point where you’ve failed much in that particular sport as it is with us. He’s progressed in a pretty fast fashion. Never fast enough for us when you’re trying to put him in the starting lineup and you’re trying to play for something big and you know there’s going to be bigger, better players coming. But if I looked at how much he’s progressed, I’m proud of what DD’s done, I really am, and I’m really excited about...he doesn’t look like he’s listening sometimes, sometimes he doesn’t act like he’s listening, and that’s going to take some work on my part to figure out, must be getting through to him, because he’s getting better, and he’s getting better in areas where I didn’t think he’d get better this quick.”
While Davis isn’t even thinking about the NBA right now, he is focused on getting better and getting a title. That is a big deal and if these Spartans can give Izzo his second title and MSU it’s third, the Spartans deep thinking Davis will be a key component.
The Spartans will tip off against Ohio State Saturday at 12 PM. That game can be seen on ESPN.