The biggest player on IU’s roster is trying to get smaller.
Following his freshman season, sophomore forward De’Ron Davis is undergoing a physical transformation this offseason. With Cliff Marshall coming to IU as the new strength and conditioning coach, Davis has shed 20 pounds as he looks to step into a bigger role this season for the Hoosiers basketball team.
“It’s been up and down,” Davis said. “Been a lot of struggles, but in the long run it’s helped my body. I feel good. I don’t have any injuries right now on the court it was my first time with team practice was yesterday. I feel really good on the court, I feel light and explosive, and I’m just ready for the regular season to start.”
As a freshman, Davis played in all 34 games for the Hoosiers, averaging 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Over the course of the season, he made four starts - three of which came late in the season – playing alongside former Hoosier Thomas Bryant.
With Bryant gone, Davis will likely be IU’s main big man and IU Coach Miller will look to count on Davis for more playing time than last season. Davis wasn’t able to train with IU for the majority of the offseason before his freshman season and his conditioning suffered as a result. He was only able to play 13.9 minutes per game last season.
Miller has been pleased by Davis’s progress so far this summer.
“He’s done a great job in the classroom,” Miller said. “He’s done a great job in terms of when we first started, we have to get a couple things done before we can start talking about basketball, and that was conditioning and his body. And he’s done a fantastic job there.”
His teammates are seeing a difference.
“I see a new found determination in De’Ron,” junior forward Juwan Morgan said. “Before he would always talk about it, and when he first got here last year it was always a confidence thing. Now he’s more confident. He sees the changes going on. We all see it, and we’re just going along with him and encouraging him as he’s going along.”
Davis said he is able to get up the court faster and is able to stay on the court for more minutes next season.
“He just looks more agile,” Newkirk said. You can just tell he’s lighter on his feet. He’s moving better. The weight that he lost, it’s definitely helping him. So he just feels better. It’s just helping him a lot.”
Last season, Davis was prone to foul trouble as he averaged 7.0 fouls per 40 minutes.
“I used to foul a lot when I got tired, I would try to get a breather,” Davis said. “So me getting in better shape, me losing the weight, taking away some of those foul-prone injuries.”
While Davis has made significant changes during the offseason, Miller still believes there’s even more room for Davis to grow.
“He’s moving and jumping as good as he ever has,” Miller said. “He has a great confidence about him. I think he feels good about himself. He still has another gear I think he can reach, which is good as he approaches these next three weeks and then he goes home.”
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