It’s Josh Davis, not Tarik Black, who you should be talking about

The blogging media (bledia?) is a funny beast. One national site puts up a story which generates a ton of hits, and suddenly all the other sites have very similar stories up in order to cash in on the hits. It's not about being right. It's not about covering what is important. It's about hits. That, in large part, is how quality is judged in the era of blogs.

Memphis transfer Tarik Black became the hot story this week. He's a former consensus top-60 recruit who is leaving Memphis and will be immediately eligible for one final season. What the coverage should have been is that he's a role player from Memphis who is transferring to be a role player somewhere else. Big deal. But since he might finish his career at Duke or Kansas there were suddenly lots of people from basketball obsessed fanbases googling his name. Cue the national blog race, and within a few days he was being reported by multiple sites as the biggest recruit in basketball outside of Andrew Wiggins.

Not a bad rise for a guy who averaged 8 points a game.

Of course, there are plenty of other players who are transferring, and many of them are expected to play much bigger roles at their new schools than Tarik Black will. One of those is Tulane transfer Josh Davis, who – because his camp isn't leaking any exciting information about his recruitment – has been largely absent from the national blogs. He's leaving Tulane (not a lot of hits there) and he may settle on a place like San Diego State or Gonzaga (not a lot of hits there).

Besides the obscurity angle, there's also another key difference between Josh Davis and Tarik Black. Davis, it turns out, is really good.

Although they're both about the same height (Black is 6-9, Davis is 6-8) they don't really play the same role. Black isn't as mobile and bangs inside, whereas Davis is more diverse in his game. Davis averaged a double-double – 17.6 ppg and 10.7 rpg. So I'm not comparing them in a way which suggests that the same schools should be recruiting both players, as they play different roles. But what I am saying is that it's Davis's destination, and not Black's, which will have a far greater impact on next season. But you won't know that from the coverage.

Here are the two player's metrics:

Player Height Weight %Min oRtg OR% DR% Block% FD/40 2pt% FT%
Josh Davis 6-8 215 89.3 110.4 12.9 23.8 2.8 6.7 49.2 71.6
Tarik Black 6-9 262 45.8 100.8 10.1 16.0 3.1 5.2 58.9 44.8

Davis's offensive rating (oRtg) is far superior. He's a better offensive rebounder (OR%), grabbing 12.9% of his own team's misses compared to 10.1 for Black (which is also solid). He's a FAR superior defensive rebounder (DR%). Black has the slight edge in % of blocked shots. Davis draws 6.7 fouls per 40, which ranks him among the 20 best players in the nation at drawing fouls, and once he gets there he makes almost 72% of his free throws. Black doesn't draw nearly as many fouls, and he's Shaq-like from the line.

Whoever gets Davis will be getting a hell of a player.