Tyler Davis: Junior Primer

Tyler Davis

If you like your centers basic, Davis is the kind of player who fills his role without getting bogged down in fluff.

Role ambiguity is a problem Tyler Davis never will experience. He won't be asked to play on the perimeter, nor is he likely to want to play on the perimeter. He's a center's center, the kind of old school big guy who could trot out in short shorts in the 1980s and fit right in.

Davis is a monstrous big man, checking in at 6-9, 270 pounds. And he carries that weight well; he's massive, not fat. He understands that his body provides the primary point of attack, and he's very effective fighting for position inside and using his leg strength to root out opponents when he's on defense.

His offensive game lacks thrill and variety, but his simplicity should enable him to become efficient on the basis of repetition and a refusal to force bad shots. He finishes well with his left hand and at times has used jump hooks intelligently, though that's a weapon he could unsheathe even more often than he already does.

Foes must grow weary at defending Davis in the post. He sets up low and forces them to push and foul their way into reasonable deny position, and he exploits their efforts for spinning layups and reverses. He also does step out and hit an occasional facing jump shot, but mostly he prefers to be a battering ram inside.

His athleticism remains a point of contention. Davis has good balance and is fairly mobile, but he doesn't play above the rim and thus can struggle against shotblockers and those competitors who are very quick off the floor. He'll need learn to use his hips to bend more than he does now (think Jared Sullinger), as his short-range attempts are more straight up than would be ideal.

I love Davis' defensive potential. He's a pretty good shotblocker, but down the road I envision him as a Kendrick Perkins-esque hatchet man/annoyer who specializes in disruption. But unlike Perkins at that age, he doesn't attempt to handle the ball on the perimeter and generally does better to play within himself. He isn't quite as imposing as Perkins physically, but stylistically I think that's the direction he could go.

Touring with the Team Texas Titans last summer exposed Davis to some of the country's elite players. He is battle tested against his immediate peers as well as blue-chip seniors, and that experience should benefit him as he sizes up the travel circuit in the next few months.

Davis transferred to Plano West this season but was denied eligibility due to Texas transfer rules, so he hasn't had an opportunity to build on his momentum in 2013-14.

His recruitment also has cooked at a relatively low temperature for that reason. That said, Arizona has offered and Kansas, Indiana and several in-state programs are involved as well.

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