CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — For the time being, Mississippi basketball star Malik Newman is the only uncommitted guard from the class of 2015 with a scholarship offer from Kentucky.
That doesn’t mean John Calipari isn’t looking elsewhere.
One player on the UK coach’s radar is Eric Davis, a 6-foot-2 prospect from Saginaw, Mich.
Davis got off to a slow start at the NBPA Top 100 Camp before erupting for 32 points in the final session of games Thursday night. At that point, it was the highest scoring total of anyone at the high-profile showcase.
“I was just having fun, man,” Davis said the next day. “I was in the zone. And when I’m in the zone, I feel like I can always knock down shots. I just kept believing and my shot started falling once I got going on the defensive end. I’m starting to learn that I have to get myself going on the defensive end first, then my offensive game will pick up.”
Davis is often listed as a point guard – and he’s working on improving his skills in that area – but he acknowledges that his biggest strength is his ability to score. That’s what has so many of the country’s top programs interested in his recruitment.
Kansas, Michigan State, Florida, UCLA and Michigan are just a few of the schools that have extended scholarship offers. Davis said he has also been in regular contact with UK assistant coach Kenny Payne, and he’s recently spoken with Calipari.
“They’ve made me somewhat of a priority,” he said. “We talk on a regular basis. Developing a relationship, that was the first step with me and Kentucky.”
The next step will be a visit.
Davis was in Lexington last October for a trip to Big Blue Madness. “It was live,” he said. “Everybody was there for support, just for a 20-minute scrimmage.”
But it was a whirlwind trip that lasted only a few hours before Davis had to head back home to Michigan. He plans to return to town for an unofficial visit sometime before the LeBron James Skills Academy in early July. On that trip, he wants to get a better feel for the campus, meet with the players, and actually sit down with Calipari and get to know him on a personal level.
He also said he thinks there’s a good chance he’ll land a scholarship offer during the visit.
Davis said the UK coach has already compared him to one of his former players: Doron Lamb, who helped lead the Wildcats to the national championship in 2012.
Calipari would like to use Davis in a similar manner.
“Just be interchangeable,” Davis said. “He doesn’t want me to be one-dimensional.
“It’s not really me to be a natural, true point guard. I just score the ball so well in a variety of ways. I want to be interchangeable, more so like a Stephen Curry or Kyrie Irving – a scoring point guard. … He wants me to be more like those guys if I do choose to go to Kentucky.”
Davis – the No. 32 overall prospect in the new Scout.com rankings – has also told the coaches at UCLA and UNLV that he will take official visits to their schools. He doesn’t have plans for his other three official visits, but he said he’d like to cut his list of possibilities after his summer basketball schedule wraps up in late July.
He’s hoping to have a top five by then.
“But if it’s more than that, that’s totally fine with me,” he said. “I want to take my time in this process and pick the school that’s right for me.”