Height/Weight: 6’1, 190 lbs.
Many hoops fans have probably heard the name Corey Davis Jr. before but have never given him the attention he deserves. Davis Jr. is a special talent that has potentially pushed his way into the 2019 NBA Draft with a few impressive NCAA tournament performances, if you didn’t already have him in that conversation. Finishing second in the American Athletic Conference’s player of the year voting to Cincinnati guard Jarron Cumberland, Davis Jr. still proved to be a scoring machine for the Houston Cougars and led the team to an impressive regular season record of 31-3.
Davis Jr.’s biggest strength is that he is an elite three point shooter with NBA range. He has the ability to create his own three point shot off the dribble with a step-back move to gain separation from his defender. While the step-back is something he loves to go to, his tight handle, in general, is the appealing trait that gains him the necessary separation from the defense.
The combination of the space he is able to create and the elevation he gets on his jump shots makes it hard for defenders to heavily contest him. Davis Jr. is excellent at catching and firing from three and understands where to be behind the arc when his teammates are in trouble in the paint and need to kick it out. He has shown steady improvement with his outside shooting throughout his college career and is attempting an average of eight threes a game in his senior season and shooting just under 40%. Davis Jr. has also shown improvement at the free-throw line, even though he doesn’t get there frequently, shooting it at 87.3%.
Another one of Davis Jr.’s strengths is his strong and cut frame, which he uses well on both sides of the ball. At 190 pounds he is considered to be a heavier point guard (in college), and he uses his weight to his advantage when he attacks the basket. Davis Jr. is strong enough to finish tough contested shots at the rim and shows good touch and decision making by pulling up for floaters when the paint is too congested. He also uses his strength well on defense, showing off his lower body strength by playing low to the floor and moving his feet quickly to make it challenging for players to get by him.
In this particular clip, although Cumberland is able to hit the bucket, you can see Davis in a good defensive position throughout as he slides his feet and contests the shot well. Jarron is a tough shot maker, and Corey made it as difficult has possible for him.
The senior guard has proven to be the Cougars’ tough and energetic leader throughout the past few seasons. This leads to another one of Davis Jr.’s strengths, his intangibles. Davis Jr. plays with an intensity that is contagious to his teammates on both ends of the floor the entire game. This intensity is rarely matched and makes Davis Jr. a tough assignment. He is not afraid to stick his nose out and dive for loose balls, take charges, and fight for tough rebounds. As mentioned above he knows where to position himself behind the arc if a teammate in the paint is in trouble and needs to kick it out, which shows that he understands the importance of spacing on offense. Suffice it to say, the IQ is off the charts.
One of Davis Jr.’s biggest weaknesses is his lack of playmaking ability as a lead guard. Corey is definitely a big time shot maker, however, he possesses average court vision and has shown only flashes of his playmaking ability. He is a shoot and score first point guard, which is what the Cougars rely on him for. However, if he is to succeed at the next level, he will need to demonstrate that he can pass the ball more consistently without turning it over.
Another weakness that I see is his athleticism. He is not necessarily the best run and jump athlete at the point guard position. Even though he has a strong frame and quick feet at the college level, he will need to be quicker to keep up with NBA level point guards. His size can also be viewed as a weakness since he does not have elite athleticism. As the NBA is evolving and starting to shift towards position-less basketball, it has gotten harder for smaller guards to succeed on both sides of the ball. At 6’1, Corey might struggle to keep up with bigger and quicker guards on both sides of the ball. His lack of height will most likely lead to mismatches while playing defense, and may pose a problem for him on offense where he will have to shoot over bigger perimeter defenders.
Davis Jr. is considered to be one of the better three point shooters in college basketball and has shown steady improvement shooting the ball throughout his career. However, Davis Jr. still needs to work on his mid-range jump shot consistency, especially off of the dribble. He also needs to keep improving his consistency from behind the arc in order for him to find that aforementioned success.
Corey Davis Jr. will continue to do what he has done all season and will lead his Cougars team until the end. But, the end is nearing. Not necessarily for Houston in the NCAA Tournament, but in his collegiate career. Depending on what he can showcase in private workouts and at the NBA Combine, he may land on a G-League team to start his professional career. If Davis Jr. can get quicker without losing muscle and improve his playmaking ability, he will be able to work his way out of the G-League and onto an NBA roster, I’m confident of that. Davis Jr. has a long road ahead of him but given his proven willingness to work on his game and his intensity there is a strong possibility that a team will take a chance on him.
He has the same build as former longtime NBA player Mike Bibby when he came out of college, both at 6’1 and 190 pounds. Bibby left Arizona after his sophomore year and showed better court vision and more of a defensive presence than Davis Jr. Can Corey get to that level? I think so, but work is to be done.