With his visit on Friday fast approaching, TKR thought that it would be smart to learn more about Brandon Davies. While he is obviously held in high regard by the coaching staff, Davies remains somewhat of a mystery to GU fans. TKR was able to interview John Coon, who is a writer for the Desert News in Salt Lake City, Utah. John covered Provo High School and Brandon last season, and was able to share some of his knowledge regarding Brandon with us. We would like to thank John for taking the time to do this interview, and for providing very insightful answers.
TKR: Could you please describe Brandon's game for us. What are his greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses?
John Coon: Davies is athletic, good around the basket and has a nice short-range jumper. He has . He probably needs to extend his range a little bit and his lateral movement could be quicker. But, overall, he has the kind of skills to help any team.
TKR: This summer has seen Brandon's recruiting stock really take off. What do you think are the reasons behind his sudden emergence as an elite prospect?
John Coon: I think college scouts are really starting to see his athletic potential. Davies was a force inside during Provo High’s most recent playoff run. He held his own against big men like Ben Aird, who is now a freshman at . Davies is maturing physically and that, combined with his height and skills, is only making him all the more desirable to top teams out west.
TKR: Do you think Brandon is physically and mentally prepared to contribute at the collegiate level as a freshman?
John Coon: In all honesty, it may take him a year or so to develop into a starter. I could see him being someone that could give you 10-15 minutes off the bench as a freshman. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If he goes to a team like , for example, there’s no reason for him to be forced into playing major minutes right away with the depth on the team.
TKR: Where have you seen the greatest growth in Brandon's game since you began watching him?
John Coon: The biggest change in Davies has been confidence. He just knows he can go out there and hold his own against anyone at his position. It shows in his big-play ability and in his communication with teammates on the court.
TKR: How much pressure is there on Brandon from the community (i.e. friends, family, coaches) to remain in-state for college, especially to attend BYU since he is a member of the ?
John Coon: If you look at it on paper, BYU would seem like a perfect fit for Davies given the fact that Provo is his hometown and he would probably flourish in Dave Rose’s offense. It also doesn’t hurt that it is an LDS-run university. I don’t think that the Cougars are his only in-state option though – especially if he is set on serving an LDS mission. Utah State coach has recruited plenty of players in the past who have served LDS missions, including, most recently, . If religion is a deciding factor, the Aggies are as much in the hunt as the Cougars.
TKR: Have you been able to gauge how strong Brandon's interest in Gonzaga is? How long has Gonzaga been recruiting him? Did coach Giacoletti show any interest in Brandon when he was coaching at Utah?
John Coon: Davies has serious enough interest that he is planning a visit to the Gonzaga campus this weekend. The Zags have been after him almost from the beginning. Since he really didn’t emerge as a star until the 2007-08 season, I doubt Giacoletti knew much about Davies. But I’m sure he was familiar with the quality program at Provo High – which has won two straight 4A state titles in Utah.
TKR: Brandon has narrowed his list to 5 schools, Gonzaga, Cal, BYU, Utah St., and Arizona. If you could, what odds would you give each school of landing Brandon and why?
John Coon: BYU definitely has the best odds of landing him. His family lives in Provo. The university correlates with his LDS beliefs – an important factor if he is set on serving a mission when he turns 19. The Cougars also have a former Provo High teammate on the roster in Chris Collinsworth.
Utah State is definitely in the mix for his services. Davies was impressed with the program and the coaching staff during his campus visit two weeks ago. With his size and athleticism, he would be a contributor right away – something that would be appealing to any incoming freshman.
California is on par with the Aggies. Davies said he likes both schools equally. And the Bears are definitely serious on landing him. has already made a personal visit to the Davies’ home.
Davies could cool on Gonzaga if he is worried about 6-foot-9 forward Sam Dower committing to the Zags. Coaches have assured him, from what I understand, that bringing Dower aboard won’t affect his inclusion in the team’s long-term plans. But whether or not Davies believes that remains to be seen.
Arizona is definitely a longshot at this point. The Wildcats have reportedly cooled toward Davies in recent weeks and I can't see him being a good fit under Lute Olsen.
TKR's Take: It seems that it will take some impressive work by Coach Few and the rest of the staff to get Davies out of Utah. His proximity to the BYU campus, and his religious beliefs, make it seem like staying in state is a natural fit for Brandon. There is no denying that Brandon is a highly athletic and talented player, but at this point I would be surprised to see him in a GU uniform next season.
What do you take from this interview? Where do you think Brandon ends up next season? TKR would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment, as we value everything our readers have to say