Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rapheal Davis can score from day one

With the next Purdue basketball game nearly a week away, InsideMackey, in the next week, will take a look at one of the most anticipated back-to-back recruiting classes to set foot in West Lafayette for quite some time.  Today we focus on the 2012 commit from Fort Wayne, Indiana, Rapheal Davis.

The senior shooting guard has experienced a change of scenery this year. Last year Davis played for a bad South Side team, who struggled to even win games in class 4A, let alone compete.  The often overlooked or maybe even unnoticed (by scouts) Davis was thought to be an average player on a bad team. The numbers he put up his junior campaign had an asterisk by it. He scored a lot, but on a bad team. Even though he put up about 30 a night and even had 53 one game, nothing was really made of it.

But during the transition from his junior to senior year, Davis decided to transfer to La Lumiere. Lumiere, a college preparatory school located in LaPorte, was a huge step up from South Side.

A huge step because of the difference in talent and competition. The only Division 1 talent on a South Side team, switched onto a team in La Lumiere that had a team full of college bound players. Players like Jay Simpson, a fellow 2012 commit to the Boilers and Hanner Perea, an ultra athletic forward committed to Indiana for the 2012 class among them.

This season La Lumiere, who finish up a four day tournament Thursday night, only has one loss on the season which was to the #2 ranked team in the country Oak Hill Academy. Needless to say, the competition has hit another level for Davis and before the season started, critics questioned if Davis was up for it.

Well he was and is. Recently posted on his twitter account that he has grown another inch and is now 6' 6'', Davis is the leading scorer on the high powered team at a reported 21 points per game.

A three-star recruit by Rivals.com, Davis has certainly proven so far this year that he deserves to move up that list. Part of the reason for a ranking - 106th in his class - that most think doesn't reflect his production is due to his athleticism and potential. The scouting report out there is Davis has peaked and has hit his "ceiling" as far as potential. There's no way to know if this is true or not, but you can't get much better than 21 a game on team full of D-1 talent. He doesn't jump out at you athletically when you see him in person and what most of these rankings are based on is potential, something that almost always goes hand-in-hand with athleticism. Teammate and Indiana recruit Hanner Perea is ranked 16th by Rivals.com, and while he is a terrific talent, he has yet to prove that he deserves that ranking.

Too often Purdue fans get infatuated with rankings. While they're certainly a good indicator of production in the college game, they're not the end all be all. It was just last year that Purdue was running in circles after point guard Kevin Anderson from Richmond, a guard, who happened to be an overlooked three-star.  If it makes you feel better, as the leading scorer on a team that plays a lot of nationally recognized programs throughout the year, Davis should be in the spotlight more and jump into the four-star crew by the end of the year. Don't expect a huge jump, though.

Davis isn't a great shooter (not bad either), but his ability to drive to the basket is what makes him who he is. He scores in bunches and with a college ready body right now, standing at 6' 6'', he will present a lot of problems for opponents guarding him. With that big body, he can absorb contact and finish around the rim with the best in the country. One thing that Davis also has is tenacity. He is a competitor. He has a kind of swagger that Purdue doesn't really have right now. If Davis can control his emotions as a freshman but also use it to his and Purdue's advantage, that will be big.

Another thing that hasn't been talked about by Purdue fans is his relationship with Jay Simpson. It can only be a positive that these two get to spend a year together before they step foot on campus.  Developing a friendship and a familiarity on the court could prove crucial for a young Boilermaker team next year.

Davis' minutes as a freshman should be hard to come by, however. If he plays at the strong forward position or even as a shooting guard, he will have experienced players ahead of him. At the 3 there will be senior's D.J. Byrd and Kelsey Barlow. At the 2 there will be Terone and Anthony Johnson.  Next year with Jay Simpson and A.J. Hammons and developing bigs getting an extra year this season to learn and improve, the possibility of Painter going with a four guard lineup is unlikely as well.  He will have to prove to Matt Painter that he is dedicated to the defensive end if he wants to play significant minutes. Davis does have a lot of things going for him though and probably the biggest reason he will wind up getting a fair amount of minutes: He can flat out score.

No comments:

Post a Comment