The Wolverine

June-July 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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  2016 BASKETBALL RECRUITING ISSUE Year honors for a second straight season while making the Associated Press' all-state team. He averaged 25.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 4.9 blocks per game while shooting 79 percent from the field as a senior. Saying goodbye to him at Onst- ed's late-April basketball banquet was tough, head coach Brad Maska admitted. "Austin was a program changer for us," he said. "He had been around the program since third or fourth grade as a manager, and then to be able to do the things he was able to, raise the level of everything around Onsted bas- ketball… "He'd come in for morning workouts and open gyms, and t h e re w e re t h re e or four guys. Then a lot more kids started coming. He got kids more excited, got them into the weight room and the gym, and expectations increased every year here. To have the kind of season we had as team and him individually when most teams in our district were double our size was the neatest thing, and the community behind us was so great." The people in Onsted were the reason staying at the tiny school was a no-brainer for Davis, Maska said. In a day and age in which kids of his skill are poached by out-of-state prep schools, Davis never gave it consideration. Davis' mother is a principal in the district and his father was born and raised in the county, so when the calls came — and there were many, Maska said — they were met with a, "Thanks, but no thanks." "It was of the utmost importance to me to stay here," Davis said. "I've grown up here. Every person in the community had a hand in some way or another of raising me and making me the man I am today. I'm honored to have played here." The man he's become is much smaller than the one who took the court as a 275-pound sophomore two years ago. No- ticing that more and more coaches were trekking to his tiny town to watch him play, Davis realized he might have a le- gitimate shot to play at the next level — if he got into shape. He routinely put up big num- bers against smaller competition, in- cluding a 50-point game in front of former U-M assistant LaVall Jordan, but knew he'd have to slim down to shine on the AAU circuit. For over a year, Davis counted cal- ories and made time to hit the gym or the track to shed his baby fat. He weighed 232 pounds by the end of last summer, a pleasant surprise for Maska and no easy task. "It was definitely really difficult," Davis said with a laugh. "Having to watch everything you eat 24/7, be conscious of finding time in the schedule to go and lift, run, stuff like that." Onsted (Mich.) High head coach Brad Maska on Davis "Austin was a program changer for us."

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