If you ask just about anyone who they think is the most likely in the class of 2019 to attend Indiana, their response is Greenwood, Indiana native Trayce Jackson-Davis. The 6-foot-9 power forward is rated as a 5-star recruit based on the 247 Sports composite, and he is the 20th best player in the country according to that service.
The 5-star rating reflects a significant move up the charts for Jackson-Davis, as he has made big strides over the last few years. As a freshman he used his size to primarily be a presence with rebounding and defense. Since then his game has evolved with offensive skills on the block and most recently handling the ball both to bring it up the floor and attack the basket.
Rivals analyst Corey Evans referred to Jackson-Davis’ year-over-year development as “staggering” in a recent Tweet.
Jackson-Davis is also rated as the second best player in the state of Indiana behind Keion Brooks, Jr. The pair are teammates on the Indy Heat of the Nike EYBL circuit. Jackson-Davis attends Center Grove High School and Brooks goes to Fort Wayne North Side. Jackson-Davis averaged 22.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.7 blocked shots and 2.8 assists per game for his junior year of high school.
Year one of IU head coach Archie Miller’s “inside-out” recruiting strategy was a clear success, as the Hoosiers secured the commitment of three of the top four players in the state including Mr. Basketball Romeo Langford. While there are several talented players from the state of Indiana in the class of 2019, the success of the inside-out approach will be measured by how Miller does with Jackson-Davis and Brooks.
As we mentioned, the conventional wisdom seems to be that Jackson-Davis will be a Hoosier, but there is stiff competition. Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue and UCLA are all in the hunt. Each of those schools took in-home visits in Greenwood last month.
The offers are still rolling in. Just this week, Memphis extended an offer, and former Indiana head coach Tom Crean created a minor buzz after Georgia offered Jackson-Davis.
So is Jackson-Davis Bloomington bound? We take a look around the latest news, notes and interviews of the big man to assess whether that continues to be a reasonable assumption.
IT’S LOOKING LIKE INDIANA
The Des Moines Register, which is covering him from the Iowa perspective, says that “Indiana has become the presumed favorite” and a commitment with the Hoosiers “might not be too far away”
In a subscription article on 247 Sports, Jackson-Davis was quoted as saying he would like to “team-up” with Romeo Langford.
He also had this observation on Juwan Morgan’s development under Archie Miller and IU strength and conditioning coach Clif Marshall:
“Juwan’s a great player. He’s really evolved just from last year to this year. You can see the development IU and coach Clif (Marshall, the strength and conditioning coach) have with their players. He’s developed a lot. I like how he’s free to play his own game.”
You know our deep respect for the 247 “Crystal Ball”. Despite its questionable reliability, it is at least a data point. Although some of the predictions for Trayce are behind a paywall (really?), it is clear that all seven of the predictions are for Indiana, since the Hoosiers sit at 100 percent.
There’s also the notion of a “package deal” with Brooks. We warned you to be suspicious of the “two-for-one”, but if it is such a thing with this duo, that would seem to benefit IU. There aren’t many other likely destinations that have offered the pair to this point.
All of these and many other variables have suggested for a long time that Jackson-Davis will be playing in Bloomington next year. But not so fast my friend.
HOOSIER FANS WILL NEED TO BE PATIENT
Remember how confident Rivals analyst Eric Bossi sounded with his belief that Jackson-Davis was Indiana bound? He seems to be backing off of that a bit, or at least seems surprised with the protracted timeline and recent comments that Trayce has made.
In an interview with Eleven Warriors yesterday, Jackson-Davis had this to say about his timeline:
“I’ve been debating whether to commit before the season, but right now I don’t know if that’s going to happen,” he said. “I will commit when I know 100 percent where I want to go.”
You could interpret that statement multiple ways, and your interpretation will likely be biased towards whatever school you support. If he’s been debating whether to commit, that probably means he knows where he wants to go, right? But the fact that he isn’t committing, and seems to be pushing off the process surely gives the other schools in the running some hope.
The consistent theme of most of his recent interviews has been along the lines of “enjoying the process” and “evaluating all of my options”. And why shouldn’t he? This is really a once in a lifetime opportunity that few people ever get to experience. He is doing exactly what he should do. Soon enough he will be doing battle at the highest levels of college basketball and then fighting for a spot in the cut throat world of the NBA.
Let them swoon over you for a while.
WHEN IT’S ALL SAID AND DONE
All the signs still point to Indiana. While he no doubt is evaluating all of his options, we believe his heart is in Bloomington. Jackson-Davis is a rising star, and with that, he has a rising level of interest. He is doing the right thing taking his time to make sure he has it right.
With another year in high school to continue to develop his right hand and his perimeter game, Jackson-Davis’ star is only going to get brighter. And no star shines brighter than an Indiana native playing college basketball in Bloomington.
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