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IU basketball’s Trayce Jackson-Davis at No. 45 in ESPN’s 2021 NBA mock draft

The year two expectations are high for Indiana sophomore Trayce Jackson-Davis.

And if all goes according to plan, the 6-foot-9 forward will have a big decision to make next spring.

The IU star was listed at No. 45 in an early 2021 mock draft released by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony on Tuesday, which would place Jackson-Davis in the middle of the second round.

According to Givony, the 2021 draft is expected to be significantly deeper than 2020 due to the depth at the top and the large number of college prospects who chose to return to school amidst the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

If he is like most NBA prospects, Jackson-Davis would like to see his draft projections move into the first round over the course of the 2020-21 season.  He has a good handle on how his game must develop for that to happen.

“Not being able to space the floor really hurt parts of my game,” Jackson-Davis told the media last week about his freshman season with IU. “Teams being able to pack it in, they kind of learned that late in the season.”

The NBA game is perimeter oriented even for bigger players, with the paint generally left open.  Jackson-Davis has been attacking his weaknesses head on to be seen as a viable prospect in that kind of style.

“I’ve been really working on my jump shot, stretching the floor is going to be a big key for me this year,” Jackson-Davis said. “During the quarantine that’s all I’ve been working on is my jump shot, just shooting the ball a ton.”

Jackson-Davis’ point of emphasis fits well with the offensive style that Indiana head coach Archie Miller is hoping to transition to this season.

Miller said last week that he anticipates a move to a more guard oriented team with a perimeter focus.

Jackson-Davis will be setting a lot of screens for those ball handlers, and his ability to pop and knock down jump shots will prove beneficial to both his NBA draft stock and IU’s fortunes this season.

A third team All-Big Ten performer as a freshman, Jackson-Davis contributed 13.5 points while shooting 56.6 percent from the field and added 8.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. He led the team in all four of those categories.

Miller has high hopes that Jackson-Davis can expand on that impressive debut during his sophomore season.

“Trayce Jackson-Davis has to be an All-American for us,” Miller said recently.  “He has to be one of the premier players in the country for us.”

No doubt a season like that would help Jackson-Davis reach his NBA draft goals too.

Other Big Ten players listed in Givony’s mock draft include Michigan State’s Aaron Henry (No. 38), Michigan’s Franz Wagner (No. 39), Iowa’s Luka Garza (No. 58) and Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu (No. 59).

See also:  Jackson-Davis joins Andy Katz on the March Madness 365 podcast.

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