Four-star 2015 center Tyler Davis loses weight to transform game

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Tyler Davis is on the cusp of being among the Class of 2015’s best big men. The native of Plano, Texas had a strong showing this July and in a class that is filled with five-star front-court players, Davis is sitting right in the next tier of players.

But after multiple big games at Peach Jam, Davis might be in the discussion thanks to his soft hands, developing post game and a good feel for the game. It also doesn’t hurt that the 6-foot-10 big man has put in a tremendous amount of work re-shaping his body with trainers from his Texas Titans grassroots program.

“I’ve lost about 70 pounds. We’ve got a great trainer on the Titans. And he just got on me and got my eating habits right and helped me put in a workout plan and get in the gym a lot more and work out every day,” Davis told NBCSports.com. “Spending more time in the gym obviously is going to help your play. So that’s helped me raise my level of play. The Titans, they have great coaches all around so they help me a lot.”

The work that Davis has put into the gym has definitely paid off. Elite schools from across the country are reaching out to Davis and right now he’s honing in on some visits that he would like to take. Davis mentioned, however, that with July being a focus for him that recruiting would come more into focus this month.

“I’ve been really focused on my game. I’ve had the Peach Jam and LeBron James Academy and Big Man Academy, so I haven’t really had time to talk it over with my family with what’s going on, but after July I’ll be sure to take the time to get that done,” Davis said. “My two biggest [offers] are Kansas and Arizona but I have Baylor, SMU; I’m open to everybody right now. I’ll focus on the recruiting stuff in August.”

Davis mentioned to NBCSports.com that Arizona and Kansas would likely receive official visits from him and he likes the way both programs use their big men. With both programs having recent pro-level talents playing in the front court, it’s easy to see why.

“Just the way they use their bigs. The high-low, obviously [at Kansas.] At Arizona, their bigs do everything, they have a complete offense, so that intrigues me,” Davis said. “College this year I watched Joel Embiid a lot. I watched how they worked with him. That was one big thing.”

MORE: Quotables Part I | Part II | Part III | All content from the 2014 July Live Period

Besides monitoring how certain programs use their big men, Davis is also focusing on some other factors in his recruitment as he has a couple of other things he’s looking for.

“Development, a great coaching staff and I want to have a good relationship with the coaches that are there,” Davis said. “And also, win. I want to win some games in college and possibly move on to the next level.”

Currently a four-star prospect, Davis said that he doesn’t pay too much attention to rankings, although he’s confident in his game and doesn’t shy away from playing big-name players. Rivals currently has Davis as the No. 35 overall player in the Class of 2015.

“Rankings, to me, don’t really mean anything. Whoever they think is up there, that’s fine. As long as I play my game and work hard. I think I can go somewhere,” Davis said. “I think I’m one of the best bigs in the country. So I just keep playing and if I play one of them, we’re going to go at it.”

Boise State loses guard Harwell to torn ACL

Leon Rice
Associated Press
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Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.

Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.

Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.

Knee injury sidelines Illinois forward Leron Black

Josh Hart, Leron Black
Associated Press
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Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.

Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.

Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).

In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.