At first glance, Devan Downey doesn’t pass the look test. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound baby-faced point guard from Chester (S.C.) High School won’t intimidate opponents at tip-off. With his last go round at the high school level right around the corner, teams will think twice about the speedy guard from the Palmetto State. He tore up the summer circuit and now he’s hitting the road for his five official visits.
The No. 42 ranked player in the nation by Rivals.com shined with his South Carolina Ravens AAU squad as well as lighting up the field at the NBA Players Association camp and Nike All-American showcase. After every event, the same song rang true: Downey can flat-out play.
“Everybody believes me know,” Downey said. “I think my size kept people away but I tried to do what I do best, score, run the point and play defense. I saw more and more coaches every game.”
Now, Downey will see more and more coaches as he kicks off his official visit tour. The trips begin this weekend as he heads to Tennessee for trip number one. Downey made an unofficial visit in June.
“I feel like I could come in and possibly start there in my freshman season,” Downey said of the SEC program. “If I can’t start, I think I could play heavy minutes there. They are changing things there and I think I could help turn that program around.
“When I was there last time, I saw a lot of things already. Now, I’m going to look at all of the students and what they do outside of school.”
Maryland will be the second stop on the tour with a visit planned for Sept. 3 and Downey likes the opportunities presented at the ACC program.
“They provide a good opportunity there,” he said. “I don’t really know the coaches very well because they are so laid back. I like them though. They said if John Gilchrist doesn’t go pro, I could play under him and learn from him.”
Arkansas will host Downey on Sept. 10.
“They’ve been with me for a while,” he said. “They are telling me that I could come in there and help turn the program into a winner. Coach (Stan) Heath and Coach (Ronnie) Thompson are both really cool guys.”
Cincinnati is the next stop on Sept. 17. The Bearcats are using a familiar player in its system to help lure in Downey.
“I haven’t talked to Coach (Bob) Huggins but (assistant) Andy Kennedy is pretty cool. He says I could be like the next Steve Logan,” Downey said.
Wrapping up the tour is Miami-FL as the Hurricanes host the guard on Sept. 24.
“They are in the ACC now and I feel like I could help build that program to be one of the best teams in the conference,” Downey said. “They are one of the up and coming teams in the ACC. I could be a part of that.”
The senior has a simple theory of finding a school. It’s strictly basketball.
“I figured that all of the schools I’m looking at are D-I so the education is going to be there,” Downey said. “So, it’s basically just a basketball decision. I want to find the best situation for me and how I work into things.
“I’d like to decide as soon as possible. When I know in my heart, I think that will tell me when I want to decide.”