PROVIDENCE – The latest prospect to supply the Providence Friars with a verbal commitment can thank his high school basketball head coach for placing the youngster on PC’s radar long before his recruiting picked up steam.
The backstory with Jyare Davis, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound small forward from Hockessin, Del. who on Sunday night declared his intentions to join the Friars next season, begins with Stan Waterman and PC assistant coach Jeff Battle. Waterman is Davis’ head coach at Delaware’s Sanford School and was a guard at the University of Delaware during the 1980s when Battle was a graduate assistant with the Blue Hens.
“Jeff is a very good friend of mine and we go way back,” said Waterman when reached not long after Davis announced his decision. “I told him about Jyare when he was a freshman … I’ve got someone who you might want to keep an eye on. Since then, Providence has been there and kept an eye on him. Things got really serious over the past year and a half. They realized, ‘This guy can play for us.’”
Per Waterman, the scouting report on Davis is that he’s comfortable regardless of where he’s standing on the court and who’s guarding him.
“He’s very versatile and can do a lot of things. He can play inside and outside and is adept at both levels. He’s a matchup problem,” said Waterman. “If they put a big on him, we’ll let him handle the ball and play on the perimeter. If they put a smaller defender on him, we’ll post him up. I think (the Friars) got a really good one in Jyare.”
Waterman began coaching Davis as an eighth grader at Sanford School. As a junior last year, Davis was a key piece in helping his team capture the Delaware state title as Sanford went 20-4. Individually, he averaged 17.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and two assists per game – numbers that earned him 2018-19 Gatorade Delaware Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
“It’s been a pleasure to watch him grow as a player,” said Waterman. “As an eighth and ninth grader, he really burst on the scene with some athleticism. You knew the kid was special.”
Tendinitis in his knee limited Davis’ availability on the AAU circuit last summer – specifically, with the Tim Thomas Playaz Basketball Club.
“He shut it down after the first week. Things sort of fell off a little bit, but he’s bounced back and has looked really good,” said Waterman. “I don’t know if he would admit it, but this is a huge relief for him, especially after the summer he had and when he wasn’t so sure about things. A lot of things were kind of up in the air. This is confirmation that he’s back on track. He wanted the opportunity to play for a program in the Big East. It’s pretty special.”
PC’s interest in Davis dialed up a few notches when he visited the weekend before Thanksgiving and took in a Friar game at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
“When he came back, all he talked about was the good things the current Providence players had to say about coach (Ed) Cooley,” said Waterman. “Jyare was really excited for the opportunity to meet (Cooley) and possibly having the chance to play for him. He was someone who Jyare really thought he would enjoy playing for.”
Basketball-wise, the next step in Davis’ development is to fully grasp that as he makes a significant jump in competition, the commitment to improving his craft must be there.
“For Jyare, it’s about continuing to grow as a player and really understand what it means to work hard and compete in the Big East. You’ve got to bring a high level of intensity every single day,” said Waterman.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03