Jyare Davis’ decision to bring his college basketball career back home was handsomely rewarded on Friday.
Less than a year after transferring from Providence, the University of Delaware redshirt freshman was named Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year.
A Newark resident and Sanford School graduate, Davis is Delaware’s sixth conference rookie of the year selection and third in Martin Ingelsby’s six years as coach. He follows Anthony Wright (1990/East Coast Conference), Brian Pearl (1992/North Atlantic Conference), Devon Saddler (2011/CAA), Ryan Daly (2017/CAA) and teammate Ryan Allen (2018/CAA).
“He’s kinda become our go-to guy lately, let’s be honest,” Ingelsby said of Davis, who has averaged 15.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game since stepping in for an injured Dylan Painter in late January.
Davis wasn’t the only Blue Hen honored, as redshirt sophomore guard Jameer Nelson Jr. was a second-team All-CAA choice. Nelson is also in his first year at Delaware after transferring from George Washington.
Voting is done by CAA coaches, school communications directors and media members who cover league teams.
The No. 5-seeded Blue Hens (19-12) play No. 4 Drexel (15-13) in the CAA Tournament quarterfinals Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.
Davis, a four-time first-team All-State selection at Sanford, elected to return home after not appearing in any games as a freshman with the Big East’s Friars in 2020-21, mainly due to an early-season concussion.
The 6-foot-7 forward played sparingly during the first half of the season. But Davis’ responsibility increased after Painter suffered an ankle injury Jan. 27 at Towson that limited his playing time the rest of the year. Davis was averaging 4.5 points and 1.9 rebounds per game until then.
Davis then exceeded 20 points three times, including a career-high 23 last Saturday against UNC-Wilmington, and had a pair of double-doubles. He also finished the regular season with a league-best 66.1 field-goal percentage in CAA games.
“He is a such a versatile scorer for us and he’s really made his mark around the basket and being able to be a featured guy for us,” Ingelsby said. “We wanna try to get him touches. Really, the last two games at home, our last three games, our best offense was throwing the ball inside to Jyare Davis and letting him score and make good decisions around the basket.
“He’s having fun playing the game. He’s really confident. He’s a great teammate. He’s going to be a big part of it for us moving forward throughout his career.”
The 6-foot-1 Nelson is Delaware’s leading scorer overall (14.0 ppg) and in CAA games (14.2). He is also second on the team in rebounds per game (5.1) and assists per game (2.2).
Nelson tied a school single-game record with eight assists against Charleston on Feb. 24 and also has a team-high 55 steals.
The son and namesake of the former Saint Joseph’s national player of the Year and longtime NBA guard, Nelson didn’t focus on basketball as his primary sport until late in high school.
“He’s super talented. He’s so athletic,” Ingelsby said after Nelson scored 30 points with four rebounds, four assists and zero turnovers against James Madison on Feb. 14 in an 81-60 win.
“He’s still learning the game and I think at times gets caught forcing things. But we’ve given him a lot of confidence, and when he’s playing like that, those guards are playing off of each other, we’re even more dynamic, we’re even more potent.”
All-CAA men's basketball
Aaron Estrada, Jr., G, Hofstra; Cam Holden, Sr., G, Towson; Jaylen Sims, Sr., G, UNCW; Nicolas Timberlake, Jr., G, Towson; Camren Wynter, Sr., G, Drexel.
John Meeks, Gr., F, Charleston; Vado Morse, sr., G, James Madison; Jameer Nelson Jr., So., G, Delaware; Mike Okauru, Gr., G, UNCW; Charles Thompson, Jr., F, Towson.
Darius Burford, So., G, Elon; Hunter McIntosh, Jr., G, Elon; Jalen Ray, Sr., G, Hofstra; Dimitrius Underwood, Gr., G/F, Charleston; Amari Williams, So., F, Drexel.
Ben Burnham, Fr., F, Charleston; Jyare Davis, Fr., F, Delaware; Julian Lewis, Fr., G, William & Mary; Tyler Rice, Fr., G, William & Mary; Reyne Smith, Fr., G, Charleston.
Cam Holden, Sr., G, Towson; Shykeim Phillips, Jr., G, UNCW; Charles Thompson, Jr., F, Towson; Dimitrius Underwood, Gr., G/F, Charleston; Amari Williams, So., F, Drexel.
Player of the Year: Aaron Estrada, Jr., G, Hofstra
Rookie of the Year: Jyare Davis, Fr., F, Delaware
Defensive Player of the Year: Amari Williams, So., F, Drexel
Sixth Man of the Year: Zach Cooks, Gr., G, Hofstra
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Hunter McIntosh, Jr., G, Elon
Dean Ehlers Leadership Award: Matey Juric, Sr., G, Drexel
Coach of the Year: Takayo Siddle, UNCW
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This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: UD's latest CAA basketball Rookie of Year has strong Delaware ties