As Antoine Davis chases history, the Titans chase a Horizon League title
For a few weeks in the off-season, Detroit Mercy fans had a glimpse of what life might be like without Antoine Davis playing for the Titans. The school’s all-time scoring leader and No. 2 in Horizon League career scoring behind Loyola-Chicago’s Alfredrick Hughes spent some time in the transfer portal, fielding offers from around the country.
In the end though, Davis opted to stay in the confines of Calihan Hall to play for coach and dad Mike one more season with an NIL deal in hand and the opportunity to not only pursue the all-time conference scoring record, but knock on the door of the NCAA record long held by Pete Maravich. To be sure, it’d be a tall order, as Davis would have to average a little over 29 points a game in his final stretch (less if UDM plays more in the post-season). No matter what, he’ll certainly finish as a top 10 scorer all time.
With Antoine Davis back, the challenge for Mike Davis this off-season has been to once again rebuild the Titans roster, as Madut Akec and DJ Harvey went pro, Willy Isiani and Matt Johnson graduated, and Noah Waterman transferred to BYU, a previous Antoine Davis suitor. Kevin McAdoo also opted to call it a career over the summer as well. Because of that, Mike Davis has searched far and wide to seek the perfect complements to Antoine, landing multiple transfers that potentially can fill the void left by the off-season departures.
Antoine Davis – The younger Davis will be the primary scoring threat, as if that wasn’t already obvious. The Horizon League Co-Player of the Year last season is the clear favorite to take the title outright this year. His 3.86 threes per game is already top five all-time in the NCAA, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be any more prolific in the upcoming campaign. With Antoine, the question is never if he’ll score; the question is how much he’ll score.
Jayden Stone – When it comes to the backcourt, Mike Davis has been adept at finding players who match well with Antoine, as was the case last season with Akec. Stone appears to be cut from the same mold as Akec; an Australian who played sparingly at his last school looking for a chance to shine. The former Alabama Class 2A Mr. Basketball fits the bill in that regard, and the Grand Canyon transfer will seek to make an impact.
Arashma Parks – The 6-9 forward spent four years at Temple, and with his extra year, opted to come to Detroit Mercy and is looking for an opportunity that came in fits and starts for the Owls. Mike Davis will be looking to Parks on the glass as well as on defense, as Parks will be a shot-blocking threat for the Titans.
Gerald Liddell – The journey for the 6-8 forward and former top 50 recruit out of high school has been a winding one. After three years at Texas, Liddell headed to the SWAC and Alabama State, where he averaged 10.3 points per game, along with 5.7 boards and 1.2 assists per contest, on top of 24 blocks and 24 steals. His ability to notch double-doubles will make him vital to the Detroit Mercy gameplan in the paint.
Damezi Anderson – Anderson’s stint at Loyola-Chicago, where he landed after two seasons at Indiana, was uneventful, specifically last season which he sat as a redshirt. UDM provides an excellent opportunity for the 6-7 wing to make the impact that many expected after finishing high school as the No. 2 recruit in Indiana and a top 100 player nationally.
Kyle LeGreair – Even with Antoine Davis, Johnson and Akec taking up most of the time in the backcourt, the 6-0 junior guard still saw 13.3 minutes per game last season. With a flux of newcomers, it’s likely that those minutes and, in turn, his productivity, will go up. Also expect to see LeGreair and Stone to split time at the point, leaving Antoine to set up more naturally off the ball.
Buay Koka – The 7-1 big man out of South Sudan was expected to see more action last season. However, in spite of one start, he was limited to 20 games and 5.3 minutes per game. Now that Isiani and Mohammed Sylla have departed, Koka, as the largest player on the roster, should get his playing time significantly increased and will provide the Titans with a size advantage that many Horizon League teams lack.
Jordan Phillips – Phillips’ 2021-22 campaign was quite short, as injuries forced him off the court after three games. Now that he’s healthy, the 6-7 forward, whose college career included stops at Arkansas and UT Arlington, should have more of an opportunity off the bench and give Mike Davis yet another scoring threat.
TJ Moss – The 6-4 guard shares a similar pedigree as some of the other Detroit Mercy transfers in his journeys across the college ranks, beginning with South Carolina and then with McNeese State, where he averaged 7.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. It will likely be on the defensive end where Mike Davis will use Moss the most, as well as potentially as another ball handler.
Isaiah Jones – In addition to the many transfers, Mike Davis has also brought in a trio of freshman. Although Sonny Johnson, Jr. will be out this season after hip surgery, the 6-8 Jones is the best bet to win playing time. He averaged a triple-double his junior year with Speights Academy, but it’s his perimeter shooting that should intrigue Titans fans, as he set a school record with 11 threes in a game.
As has been the case through the entire Mike Davis era at Detroit Mercy, player health and team chemistry will be critical for the Titans to be successful. The former has particularly bedeviled Detroit Mercy, so while Antoine Davis has been a consistent foundation on the floor, the remaining spots have been subjected to constant change due to injuries. If the Titans stay healthy, the team’s ability to get on the same page will be critical. Should everything finally fall into place, this Detroit Mercy squad could make a serious impact on the Horizon League standings, the top of which will be tough competition.
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