The final new addition to Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry’s inaugural roster is Seton Hall transfer Tae Davis. The 6-foot-9, 208-pound true sophomore was a role player for the Pirates but brings an interesting skillset to South Bend. Let’s get to his game.
Raw, Raw, Raw
There’s really no other way to put it. Davis is a prospect in need of some significant development from a skill standpoint, based on where he was as a true freshman. He averaged just 2.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game and shot 32.3% from the field.
Having his shooting percentage dragged down by poor three-point shooting (he went 2-18 from deep last season) would be one thing if he was still converting on a high percentage of two-pointers. Instead, Davis shot barely over 40% from two-point range, which has to get better.
On the flip side, Davis did shoot 69.1% from the free throw line, and it wasn’t on that limited a number of attempts (he was 47-68 on the season). That isn’t a great percentage, but it’s not bad either, and being a good free throw shooter can be indicative of the potential to grow into a better shooter elsewhere on the court.
And as for the defensive side, Davis offers even more potential. He only averaged 0.7 steals and 0.2 blocks per game last year, but that was in just 13.4 minutes per contest. His per-40-minutes averages jump to 2.0 steals and 0.5 blocks, which aren’t incredible but offer some promise. Given Davis’s length and athleticism, he could become a defensive nightmare for opponents with good coaching.
Athleticism and Energy
For as much as Davis needs to develop from a skill standpoint, he has a level of God-given ability that hasn’t taken the Purcell Pavilion court in a Notre Dame uniform in a long time. Davis has the potential to be a single-man highlight reel. He dunks…
… and he rebounds …
… and he dunks …
… and he rebounds …
… and he dunks …
… and he dunks some more.
That’s exciting even if one-dimensional. And the Notre Dame men’s basketball program certainly needs some excitement after the last few years.
Player Comp: Austin Torres
Career Stats: 1.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.3 spg, 0.2 bpg, 60.7% FG, 41.4% FT
Best Season (2017-18): 2.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 0.4 spg, 0.3 bpg, 63.5% FG, 35% FT
Davis has a couple of inches on Torres, but both were energy-bringing role players who could be opportunistic with their athleticism even if they needed a lot of refinement in other areas. Could Davis be more than that? Absolutely, because I think he’s got better tools than Torres, and is already a much better shooter. But until I see better production, this feels about right.
Davis is a curious case. He has a long way to go to fulfill all of his raw potential. At the same time, he played in 32 games and started two as a freshman at Seton Hall. Granted, it was a team that went 17-16 overall, but it went 10-10 in arguably the best basketball league in the country in the Big East. Davis also started Notre Dame’s pre-season scrimmage against Division III Hanover College (and finished with five points on 2-2 shooting, 1-1 from three, in 19 minutes played).
That’s to say that Davis has collegiate experience and a unique skillset on this Notre Dame roster. Depending on how big a leap he’s taken this past offseason, he could be the go-to lockdown defender for the Irish and do a damn good job in that role as he continues to progress on the offensive end.
But offense is important in modern college basketball, and players who were as raw as Davis was last year seldom make massive leaps on that end in just a few months. So I expect him to develop at Notre Dame for another season or two, by which point he could be a really quality contributor to the Irish.