In an interview with Dan Dakich Monday and then another with Indiana play-by-play man Don Fischer, Mike Woodson indicated he intends to make keeping forward Trayce Jackson-Davis a priority because he believes he can make him a better professional prospect than he is right now.
Unlike five other players on Indiana’s 2020-21 roster — guards Khristian Lander, Armaan Franklin and Parker Stewart, forwards Race Thompson and Jordan Geronimo — Jackson-Davis has not entered the transfer portal. However, the third-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten pick is an NBA prospect after averaging 19.1 points and 9.0 rebounds in his sophomore season.
He is not, however, a sure thing to get drafted. He’s a second-round prospect in some mock drafts and not on the board in some others because there are some obvious weaknesses in his game. The 6-foot-9, 245-pounder spent all year playing center for the Hoosiers and was dominant inside. According to hoop-math.com, 67.5 percent of Jackson-Davis’ shots came at the rim and he made 61.9 percent of his attempts.
However, Jackson-Davis would be considered small for the center position in the NBA and would likely have to play the power forward. In today’s perimeter oriented league, he’d be asked to do more from the outside and he hasn’t done much yet. In two seasons, he hasn’t even attempted a 3-point shot.
Woodson, who has been coaching in the NBA since 1996 and was a New York Knicks assistant before he took the Indiana job, knows that teams are interested in Jackson-Davis at the next level but also knows what their concerns are and he believes he can coach him well enough to improve his stock.
“He’s had a tremendous Big Ten career,” Woodson said in his interview with Fischer that was shown on Facebook Tuesday evening. “The kid averaged 20 points in the Big Ten. That’s big time. But he’s gotta be able to use his other hand. I’m going to beg for him to stay with me and talk to his parents. I think I can help him develop and get to the next level because there are some eyes out there that are looking at him, but I still think he needs to be polished a little more in his development stage. In doing that I think that can help our program.”
Woodson will have to re-recruit the rest of the roster as well, but said he’s aware that some might leave and he might to dig into the transfer portal himself to fill out the roster. He said in his interview that he had meetings scheduled with players and parents but it was not clear when those meetings were.
“I gotta get their feeling and sense of what they’re thinking before I can think of putting players on the floor,” Woodson said. “I gotta get a team. I don’t know what that team is gonna be yet based on what these players decide to do. If some of them leave, I gotta go into that portal and look at some players I think can help me and this program going forward.”
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