Newly-appointed Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray landed the first commitment of his tenure on Wednesday in Jacoby Davis (Charlotte, N.C./St. John NW Military Academy).
Ray was looking to accomplish two things with his first recruit. First, he needed to find a point guard who could help address the limited backcourt depth following the graduation of Dee Bost. Second, he needed to establish a culture of character and begin the process of rebranding a Mississippi State program that is still often associated with high-profile recruits gone wrong, like Renardo Sidney.
In Davis, he appears to have addressed both of those needs.
Although Davis was recruited primarily at the mid-major level throughout his post-graduate year, his stock rose late in the season as he proved himself to be one of the best lead guards left on the national board and picked up consequent offers from South Carolina, Seton Hall and USC as a result.
Equally noteworthy, was the fact that Ray’s initial comments about his first recruit had nothing to do with his basketball ability, but were instead in regards to his personal character.
"He's exactly the type of quality person we are looking for in this basketball program,” Ray said. “I think he'll be a great addition to our team because he's a winner, and he cares about the team.”
On the floor, Davis is a physical lead guard with a scoring style, which is especially dangerous because he’s capable of putting points on the board in all three ranges – getting all the way to the rim, pulling up in the midrange area or making shots behind the arc.
Physically, he has a college-ready body and excellent upper-body strength, that when combined with his toughness and motor, should allow him to live up to Ray’s defensive expectations, which are expected to be the basis for Mississippi State’s style of play moving forward.
So while it remains to be seen just how much Davis will be prepared to impact the team next season, this is nonetheless an important commitment for Ray as he found late value in a practically barren point guard market while simultaneously starting the process of remaking Mississippi State’s image on the recruiting trail.