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Indiana basketball 2020-21 player previews: Trayce Jackson-Davis

The 2020-21 Indiana University men’s basketball season is right around the corner.  To help get you ready, The Daily Hoosier is profiling every scholarship player on the IU roster.  Indiana’s season is expected to begin on Nov. 25.

From All-Big Ten to All-American?

Just how big of a jump Trayce Jackson-Davis makes in year two remains to be seen, but there is a growing consensus that the Hoosier big man will be thought of as one of the best players in the country by the end of the 2020-21 season.

There is no doubt he was one of the best newcomers last year.

Jackson-Davis was one of only four freshmen in the country to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, free throw percentage and blocks.

Now Indiana is looking for Jackson-Davis to put the team on his back and carry them to their first NCAA Tournament in five years.



  • Height:  6-foot-9
  • Weight:  245
  • Position:  Forward
  • Class:  Sophomore
  • Hometown:  Greenwood, Ind.
  • High School:  Center Grove


  • Minutes per game:  29.4
  • Points per game:  13.5
  • Rebounds per game:  8.4
  • Assists per game:  1.2
  • Blocks per game: 1.8
  • Steals per game:  .7
  • FG%:  56.6%
  • 3FG%:  No attempts
  • FT%:  68.5%

Preseason Recognition

• Preseason Karl Malone Award Watch List
• Preseason All-Big Ten Team
• Preseason Second Team All-American (Watch Stadium and CBS Sports)
• Preseason Third Team All-American (Blue Ribbon and College Hoops Today)
• Preseason Naismith Trophy List

Credit – IU Athletics


Head coach Archie Miller on Jackson-Davis —

“He is the guy everyone is going to look at,” Miller said. “We’re going to put a lot of pressure on him, but we put a lot of pressure on him last year, too.  Inevitably he should be a guy that’s being considered for one of the best players in all of college basketball.”

Jackson-Davis on his offseason development —

On his right hand

“I put a big emphasis on my right hand. I’ve been using it a lot more in practice,” Jackson-Davis said.  “Not just in drills, but when we play. I’m trying to get those reps up, especially with my right jump hook.”

On his jump shot

“I wanted to get my confidence built up,” he says. “I’ve gained that in the off season. Keeping getting high reps at it. That’s what I’ve been working on. Hopefully by the time the season rolls around, I’m ready to take those shots.”



With an early season schedule full of high major competition, we’ll find out right away how Jackson-Davis has developed during the offseason.

With a year worth of film to study and stopping Jackson-Davis no doubt the focus of opposing game plans, the Hoosier big man will be put to the test early and often.

That Jackson-Davis was able to put together his impressive freshman season while posing little threat from the perimeter or using his off hand should tell you just how much potential he has.  We saw other Big Ten post players make huge jumps in production after they expanded their game beyond the paint.  Luka Garza and Daniel Oturu immediately come to mind.

If Jackson-Davis can make you honor his shot out to the three-point line, and then have the ability to beat you using either hand off the dribble — well, he is going to be just about un-guardable at the college level.

Probably just as important as any of this — Jackson-Davis’ ability to recognize post traps and double teams and effectively pass from the block before plays break down.  It was raw, but Jackson-Davis showed an aptitude for making a timely post pass, including the sequence that led to Armaan Franklin’s game winner against Notre Dame.  So much of his success in 2020-21 might depend on Indiana knocking down those shots and freeing up the middle for Jackson-Davis to operate.

Two under appreciated strengths of Jackson-Davis are his abilities to run the floor and play through contact.  This speed and physicality can at times wear down opponents, as we saw with Oturu in Minnesota.  With a year under his belt, Jackson-Davis is likely to be even more productive in transition and at the free throw line.

What might Jackson-Davis’ sophomore stat line look like?  Something along the lines of 32 mpg, 18 ppg, 9 rpg, 1.8 assists, 2 bpg, 1 spg, 1.5 tpg, 54 fg% 30 3fg% would represent a highly productive season for someone that defenses will likely be looking to take away from Indiana.

On the defensive end Jackson-Davis started slow in the Big Ten, progressing as he adjusted to the speed and physicality over the course of the season.

Miller has challenged Jackson-Davis to make strides on that end of the floor as well.

“The one thing I’ve challenged him more so than anything is he has to become an elite defender,” Miller said. “He has to be much more disciplined and aggressive. He’s got to be way more confident that he was a year ago defensively for our team to take another jump.”

It is a fine line being more aggressive while staying out of foul trouble.  Jackson-Davis never fouled out as a freshman and only reached 4 fouls in a game twice.

While he was elite as a help side shot blocker, Jackson-Davis seemed less confident guarding the ball, especially away from the basket.  He seems to have room to be more aggressive without taking himself out of games with fouls.

From hedging high ball screens to defending the block, Jackson-Davis’ ability to his use length and athleticism to be disruptive on the ball while staying out of foul trouble will be a big part of the story.


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