Trayce Jackson-Davis is ready to take Indiana Basketball up a level
Trayce Jackson-Davis had a very good freshman season for Indiana Basketball, making Third Team All-Big Ten and narrowly missing out on the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award to Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn. It was clear from game one that few could match Jackson-Davis’ elite blend of speed and strength at 6’9” 245 lbs.
No matter how the Hoosiers performed, their star freshman could always be counted on to give full effort and pull in rebounds. His offensive skillset isn’t super polished, but it doesn’t need to be. Jackson-Davis is a bonafide bruiser, overpowering opponents with his physical gifts instead of finesse and impeccable skill.
There were countless times last season where Indiana’s offense was stuck in the mud. Lack of shooting clogged up the lane and made it hard to get to the rim. Jackson-Davis was forced to play in the low post too much to try and generate some form of reliable offense, but that isn’t his game. He is at his best rolling to the rim off a pick, running in transition, putting up second-chance points, and facing up from the high post — four situations where that speed and strength shines.
None of those great highlights come from Jackson-Davis posting up on the block except for that slick pass against Nebraska.
This season, Jackson-Davis will likely be put in more of these positions where he is at his best. Talks of a revamped offense were frequent throughout preseason interviews. This new offense supposedly emphasizes more on-ball screens, playing to the strengths of both Jackson-Davis and freshman point guard Khristian Lander.
If this new offense is for real and is executed well, Jackson-Davis could be in consideration for Big Ten Player of the year. He already averaged 13.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game last season. He has a year of experience already under his belt, he will be playing with a much better supporting cast, and apparently, he has worked on adding a jump shot.
We could see Jackson-Davis absolutely dominate the NCAA, asserting his physicality on the opponent every game. It isn’t absurd to expect him to average 17 points and 10 rebounds per game, all while anchoring the defense.
Archie Miller has a budding star on his hands, and I can’t wait to see sophomore Jackson-Davis unleashed.