The Dayton basketball coaches haven’t been afraid to mix it up with schools from the power conferences on the recruiting front. And while they’ve had more misses than hits in their three years, that boldness and persistence paid off in landing Darrell Davis of Detroit this week.
He’s a 6-foot-4, 170-pound guard who is ranked as a four-star recruit (out of five) and the 102nd-best prospect overall by Rivals.com. ESPN rated him as the No. 2 senior in Michigan.
He took unofficial visits to Michigan State, Iowa State and UMass before committing to the Flyers on Sunday.
“He’s long, lanky and can run and shoot the ball,” said his AAU coach, Will Smith of the Michigan Hurricanes.
Although he can play any of the three perimeter positions, Davis is considered a true point guard.
“He sees the floor well,” Smith said.
Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com said he isn’t as plugged into recruiting as he once was, but he saw Davis play a few times in July and called him a legit top-tier prospect.
“I can’t understand why recruiting analysts don’t have him in the top 100,” he said. “I don’t get it. I’ve seen a lot of those point guards who are in the top 100, and he’s better than a lot of them.”
Davis also had offers from Florida State, Iowa State and Providence, but Smith believes UD set itself apart by the way coach Archie Miller and his assistants made Davis feel valued.
“Archie made it a point that this kid was going to be his No. 1 recruit. (Assistant Tom) Ostrom has followed through with that 100 percent,” Smith said. “I just think they (did) a great job of recruiting him — covering all the bases from his high school coach, to his parents, to the kid and doing everything they’re supposed to do from a recruiting standpoint.”
Davis is the first recruit for the Flyers in the 2014 class. They have three more scholarships to give, and his commitment could provide momentum for others.
ESPN recruiting analyst Reggie Rankin, a former UD assistant who still lives in the area, isn’t surprised the Flyers were able to compete with top schools for Davis.
“I’ve been at it on both sides — as an assistant coach at Dayton and an assistant coach at some of the BCS conference schools and now as a scout and an analyst,” he said. “Dayton has a great basketball reputation around the country. One thing people know about the University of Dayton: basketball is important here. They know the Dayton faithful is there regardless of who they play. There’s basketball tradition here. And that goes a long way.
“I know there’s the Big Ten and ACC. I get all that. But Dayton is a place where a kid can have a lot of success. Dayton has as much to offer as some of these other places once you get here and see it.”
Rankin commended the UD coaches for going all out in recruiting. Every school knows how important it is, but the Flyers seem to make it more of a priority than most.
“I think that’s Archie’s makeup and his staff’s, too,” Rankin said. “That’s just how they approach it. They’re relentless, and that’s what you have to be.”