San Diego has seen steady improvement over the past couple of seasons, and big reasons for their incremental success were Mike Davis in 2012-13 and Dennis Kramer over the past four years. No, neither player ever got the attention or recognition of a Johnny Dee or Christopher Anderson, but they are both solid players who Bill Grier should be thankful he had the opportunity to coach.
When Dennis Kramer joined the USD program in 2010, he was overshadowed by sophomore Chris Manresa, who was coming off a season where he was named to the WCC All-Freshman team, and Chris Gabriel, a sophomore transfer who hailed from South Africa. With a lack of confidence and a rather short leash from coach Grier, Kramer only averaged 2.3 points per game on 35% shooting in around 10 minutes per game as a freshman.
Right before the start of his sophomore season, Gabriel was dismissed from USD, leaving Kramer the opportunity to play more minutes and eventually earn himself a spot in the starting lineup alongside either Manresa or Simi Fajemisin. Kramer averaged 8.5 points and 4.4 rebounds in around 23 minutes per game as a sophomore, but those numbers elevated to 10.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per game over the final 15 games of the season.
The strong finish to his sophomore season led to high expectations for his junior campaign. After playing well in 3 out of the first 4 games of 2012-13, Kramer went into what felt like a season long slump as his confidence lagged and freshman Jito Kok came in and took a large chunk of his minutes. And once Manresa became fully healthy towards the start of conference play, Kramer was often the odd man out when it came to minutes in the frontcourt. Despite being the starter for most of the season, Kramer only played 14.6 minutes per game and had a few games where he played 1 minute or did not play at all. He finished out the season averaging just 4.2 points per game and 2.7 rebounds per game.
With the graduation of Manresa, the Toreros needed Kramer to make a return to his sophomore form or even better if the Toreros were to have a successful season in the West Coast Conference in 2013-14. And Kramer did not disappoint, averaging 11.5 points and 6.6 rebounds in 26.6 minutes per game, on a career high 53.4% shooting percentage.
Kramer had his ups and downs in Torero uniform, but he finished out his career very well and he is a big reason that the Toreros were able to make a postseason tournament and make it to the quarterfinals of the CIT this past season.
After two years of minimal playing time at Texas Tech, Mike Davis took his talents out of his home state of Texas to USD. Unfortunately, throughout his college career, he could never avoid the injury bug. During his sophomore year at Texas Tech, he suffered a broken foot that limited his playing time. In 2012-13, as a redshirt junior at USD, he missed 9 games due to a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery, and the Toreros lost 7 of the 9 games he missed. Still, Davis was guy who could attack the basket, and he averaged 6.2 points per game in about 17 minutes per game as a junior.
As a 5th year senior, he was supposed to compete with Duda Sanadze for the starting wing spot alongside Johnny Dee and Christopher Anderson, but he broke his hand in mid-September of 2013 during a shooting workout, less than 2 months before the season began. While the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that he was likely to return around mid-December, but he was never able to recover in time before the season ended. It is unlikely that he will get a 6th year of eligibility, and the Toreros also don’t have a scholarship spot for him for the upcoming season.
So while Davis only played in 24 career games for USD, he still made an impact during his junior season, and he was likely a vocal locker-room presence this past season and will be missed by the Toreros program.