Attentive Xavier fans have been waiting for the debut of Myles Davis for a long time now. The first time he was mentioned on Banners on the Parkway was July 19th of 2011, a day after his verbal commitment. Originally we said "He has the ability to knockdown jump shots from well beyond the three-point arc, and - along with Justin Martin and Brad Redford - will give Xavier at least three sensational shooters as soon as he sets foot on campus." It's funny how time changes things, isn't it? Davis will now walk on to the court two years older and regarded as the premier shooter on the team.
Davis was supposed to play a large role last year, but, in one of those decisions that so endears the NCAA to everyone, was ruled ineligible despite having teammates that took the same classes at the same school being cleared to play. Davis ended up paying his own way to Xavier last year after the NCAA wouldn't even allow him to receive aid. His year spent on campus and around the team, though not in practice, has at least given him a familiarity with the program.
Generally we start each preview with a breakdown of the good and bad things each player does. As it is has been well over a year since Davis played in a competitive game, there's not a great deal of new information out there on him. Davis' elite trait remains his shooting. Myles has as much range as Brad Redford and is coming on to campus stronger and quicker than Redford was as a freshman. Davis has also been adding to his body and trying to make the adjustment from pure shooter to combo guard capable of handling the beating of college ball.
That lack of body size and experience surely remains Davis biggest hurdle. After a full year without playing, the guard finds himself thrust into a position battle on a team looking to compete in the Big East. That's a year without any sort of pressure on any shot, without a turnover actually costing anything, without negative or positive consequences of any kind. How does someone adjust from that to playing in one of the biggest conferences in the nation?
Best case scenario: Obviously, the very best thing that could happen is that Davis returns from his year in the woods refreshed, without any significant wear on his body, and having added some weight to his slight frame. If he does that, and if he shoots like he's capable of, he's a defensive matchup nightmare. He terrorizes the lesser lights of the non-conference schedule before hitting the Big East with confidence and momentum. A 15/1/3 line showcases his breathtaking talent and speaks to the growth he's made.
Worst case scenario: There's a reason most people don't just take a year off between high school /prep and college ball. That reason is rust, and Davis could come back with copious quantities of it. All the practice, summer leagues, and intramurals in the world cannot possibly prepare a player for the pace and violence of college basketball. Having never experienced that before, and slowed by a full year of no competition, Davis could slot in behind the rest of the guards and slowly fade out of the rotation before January.
Most likely scenario: The way Davis shot the ball the last time it mattered suggests that he has a skill that isn't just going to vanish. If he can still shoot, Christon and the other Davis (Dee) will get him the ball. If that happens, lanes open up for cutters and all the sudden this team is a thing to behold. I think that is likely. Davis can shoot, is athletic, and, maybe more importantly, is so determined to make an impact for Xavier that he paid his own way for a year. Myles may start slowly, but his season line should see him approaching 10/1/2.