Trayce Jackson-Davis Kept His Promise

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Golden State Warriors
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Despite turning in one of the most impressive careers in the history of Indiana University basketball (and THE most impressive one of recent memory), Trayce Jackson-Davis had no shortage of skeptics who were pessimistic towards the idea of his game translating effectively in the NBA. Opinions aside, he was still one of the top college basketball players during the 2022-2023 campaign, and it was widely assumed that he would hear his name called in the 2023 NBA draft.

When the day finally arrived, TJD was surely anxious for his greatest dreams to come to fruition. Being selected in the NBA draft is a sacred moment in the life of a basketball player, as it truly is the moment that they have been working towards their entire life leading up to that point. With all of the work that Jackson-Davis put in and the outstanding output which he produced as a Hoosier (career stats of 17.9 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.2 APG, 2.1 BPG, and 0.7 SPG on shooting splits of 56.5% FG/0.0% 3/67.6% FT across 4 seasons), it was only a matter of time before his name was murmured over the microphone.

But as the day waned on and the selections remaining dwindled, it looked like all hope may be lost for TJD to experience that everlasting moment. Then, with the 57th pick in the 2023 NBA draft, the iconic Golden State Warriors decided it was time to put an end to Trayce's suspense.

Trayce Jackson-Davis
Trayce-Jackson Davis, Indiana Men's Basketball / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

It goes without saying that Jackson-Davis was ecstatic to join such a storied franchise and learn from legends like Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. But it was clear that there was a deeper level of excitement brewing inside of TJD, and that fire spawned from his desire to defeat his doubters.

TJD made it his immediate and ongoing mission to make the teams that passed on him look silly, and it did not take him very long to start turning heads. He played with the type of veteran poise that can be best attributed to his extended collegiate career.

Throughout the early phases of the 2023-2024 regular season, he consistently proved worthy of his place in the NBA when given the opportunity. However, it took awhile for Steve Kerr to truly let him off the leash. Given the fact that the Dubs were looking to compete for championship as always, the shot-caller's hesitancy to entrust in his rookie was understandable. It is very rare for rookies to earn consistent minutes when suiting up for a contender.

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Rui Hachimura
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Golden State Warriors / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

At the conclusion of the 2023-2024 regular season, it became crystal clear that there are a handful of NBA general managers who would have done things differently had they known then what they know now about Trayce Jackson-Davis. The guy is a legitimate NBA basketball player, and should unquestionably be included on one of the All-NBA Rookie teams. Nobody anticipated such a rapid ascension in his inaugural season.

Trayce Jackson-Davis made a promise that there were would be regrets for overlooking him, and through his actions on the court this season he more than exemplified his status as a man of his word.