Indiana Basketball: 3 early storylines for 2020-21 season

Archie Miller, Indiana Basketball. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Archie Miller, Indiana Basketball. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Jerome Hunter, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Armaan Franklin, indiana Basketball
Jerome Hunter, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Armaan Franklin, Indiana Basketball. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

3. Which first year player takes the next step going into year two?

Look, in order to take another step as a program, it will come down to which first year player makes a big step going into their second year in the program.

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Armaan Franklin, Joey Brunk and Jerome Hunter – I’m including him since his true freshman year was basically a wash – all made impacts in year one, just some in bigger ways than others. Now, which one will make that sophomore year jump?

For me, I think it will be Jackson-Davis. Despite a terrific freshman season, he still can improve on a lot. The lefty big has no shot outside of five feet and can still get stronger on the inside. I’m not implying he will become a three-point shooter, nor should he be, but teams would not even guard him at the free-throw line. If they are going to leave him that wide open from the elbow, you need to be able to take advantage of that and burn the defense.

He averaged 13.5 points per game but Big Ten play was a different animal. After scoring in single-digits just twice during the non-conference slate, that number rose to eight in the Big Ten schedule. Granted some of this had to do with the lack of touches, but Jackson-Davis still could have found a way to be more of an impact on his own. The Big Ten is a physical conference and gaining more muscle will allow him to take some of that contact and finish through it at the rim.

As for the other aforementioned players, I think we are still another year away from Franklin making a noticeable jump, but do think people will see him as a more confident and consistent player next year. For Joey Brunk, he is what we thought. He’s a big body who can rebound the ball at times but doesn’t have a high ceiling. His physical play is what will be needed, not his points.

dark. Next. 5 Takeaways From 2019-20 Season

Jerome Hunter will take a nice step forward, and honestly needs to. If Indiana will take that next step we talk about, it will be because of Hunter. Despite that, however, he just won’t see the minutes or usage that Jackson-Davis will for many people to see how noticeable it is.