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Mike Woodson on Trayce Jackson-Davis: “I’m hoping like hell he comes back”

Indiana fans are all holding their breath.

And that’s about all head coach Mike Woodson can do now too.

Will he stay, or will he go?

That’s the question surrounding IU leading scorer and rebounder Trayce Jackson-Davis.  And it is the big question hanging over the IU basketball program at the moment.

“The big question now is, is Trayce Jackson-Davis gonna come back?” Woodson said at an appearance at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana Gourmet Dinner in Fort Wayne on Tuesday evening.

Woodson’s prized center has been away from Bloomington over the last six weeks, first training in California and now making his way to the NBA Draft Combine.

“I know he’s going to test the Combine this week in Chicago, and then he’s got until June 1st to make the decision if he’s going to go pro or come back,” Woodson said.

For the time being, Woodson sounds about as helpless, and as hopeful, as an Indiana fan.

“I’m hoping like hell he comes back, because he’s a big piece to the puzzle.”

Woodson does believe having a year at the helm has helped put him in a better position to survive an early departure by his All-Big Ten center.  Jackson-Davis also contemplated going the pro route last year.

“It’s a big difference now because I’ve had an opportunity to recruit some guys that I think can help our ball club,” Woodson said.

The now second-year head coach believes he can formulate a rotation to fill the void left by Jackson-Davis if it comes to that.

“My motto has always been next man up,” Woodson said.  “We’ve got Race (Thompson) coming back, we’ve got Logan (Duncomb), who is a young center who has gotta mature and then grow into his body.  And then we’ve got the freshman Malik (Reneau) coming in.

“So those guys gotta grow up quickly.  You’re getting an opportunity to play off the bat (if Jackson-Davis doesn’t return).”

“If Trayce comes back, he’s going to occupy a lot of minutes at that position.  But hey, we’ve got enough talent around Trayce if he doesn’t come back those guys have gotta step up and play, and I’ve gotta coach them up.”

The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”