Reaching out to Nebraska’s 2019 signees was one of Fred Hoiberg’s first priorities after he took the job at Nebraska, but Akol Arop and Jervay Green weren’t the only high school players committed to Nebraska.
Tim Miles had also secured verbal commitments from two players in the 2020 class — Lincoln North Star guard Donovan Williams and Lawrence Central (Indiana) wing D’Andre “Dre” Davis. After completing his coaching staff and getting to work on filling out his roster for 2019-20, Hoiberg turned his attention to 2020.
Hoiberg had reached out to Williams soon after taking the job, but in a sad twist of fate, Williams tore his ACL while playing in a tournament with Bradley Beal Elite prior to getting to meet with Hoiberg in person. Last Friday, Hoiberg stopped by to check in on him.
A meeting with Davis, who lives in Indianapolis, wasn’t as simple as taking a drive down the street like it was with Williams, however. Hoiberg initially reached out to Davis shortly before finalizing his coaching staff, nearly two weeks after he signed his contract. In order for both sides to evaluate where they stood, Nebraska set up a visit for Davis over the weekend.
“I was really just hoping to build that relationship with the coaching staff, get to know everybody, get familiar with the coaching staff and really see if it still felt like home,” Davis told Hail Varsity.
Apparently Davis still had that same feeling about Lincoln despite the coaching change as he reaffirmed his commitment after the visit.
“It just felt like a good fit for me,” Davis said. “I really learned a lot from spending time with Coach Hoiberg. He’s a great coach, a great person and real laid-back. His knowledge of the game is through the roof.”
Davis said he was initially hit hard by the news that Miles had been fired, so retaining his commitment was a big win for Hoiberg.
“I was heartbroken at first,” Davis said. “I really built up a good relationship with Coach Miles as well as the rest of the staff, as far as Coach [Michael] Lewis, Coach Mo [Jim Molinari], everybody else. I really had a strong bond with them, so of course I was heartbroken, lost for words. But with this new staff, Nebraska still felt like home. The support is through the roof, the facilities are awesome, Coach Hoiberg’s knowledge is crazy. I definitely still feel as if this place can get me to the level that I want to be at.”
Davis said he thinks his game is a great fit for Hoiberg’s offensive system. He cited the up-tempo and position-less nature of Hoiberg’s offense as things he likes and believes his versatility will serve him well in Hoiberg’s system.
Davis wasn’t alone on his visit to Lincoln. He was joined by two potential graduate transfers in Florida Gulf Coast guard Haanif Cheatham and Seattle forward Matej Kavas. Like Davis, Cheatham saw enough to decide Nebraska was where he wanted to be and he committed on Saturday before the visit had even come to an end.
“I was excited,” Davis said. “It was a big move. It was a great choice for him, a great choice for the organization. I think he can really help Nebraska next year. I’m looking forward to seeing them. I like him. He’s a good dude, a good person just from my time while I was with him. I had a good time with him. I’m just happy for him.”
The players got a tour of the facilities and spent some time with the coaches. They got a chance to see Hoiberg put redshirt junior Dachon Burke through a workout and the recruits got to hit the court themselves as well.
One thing that made it a little easier for Davis to stick with his commitment was Hoiberg retaining Armon Gates as an assistant coach. He wasn’t Davis’ primary recruiter — that was Lewis, an Indiana basketball legend in his own right — but Davis still knew him prior to the weekend visit.
“That’s great,” Davis said. “For me to already be familiar with one of the coaches on the staff so it's not too unfamiliar, that was good for me. I still have a great relationship with Coach Lewis, still talk to him here and there. I actually got to see him while I was down there. But I have a great bond with Coach Gates. I like him a lot. It’s just great, just to have that same familiarity with at least one of the staff member.”
Davis is coming off a strong junior season at Lawrence Central. The Bears went 22-4, falling in the Class 4A Regional Semifinals to eventual state runner-up Ben Davis. Davis averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks while shooting 46 percent from the field, 35 percent from 3 and 81 percent from the free-throw line. Davis was named Second-Team All-Indiana by USA Today just last week.
“I thought it went well,” Davis said about his season. “There were some ups and downs throughout the season but overall I thought it went well.”
This spring and summer, Davis is running with Indy Heat on the Nike EYBL circuit. He’ll be competing in the EYBL Session No. 1 in Atlanta this week during the first live recruiting period of 2019. Davis missed Indy Heat’s first tournament of the season to make his visit to Nebraska, but now that his future is clear once again he’s ready to hit the court and show what he’s capable of.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.