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NBA Draft analysts see Hood-Schifino as top-20 pick, TJD in second round

Indiana’s recent run of success on the hardwood has been fueled by the high-level play of Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jalen Hood-Schifino.

Their production over the last six weeks has led to IU winning eight of ten games and has the Hoosiers squarely in the mix for a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament.

It has also led to a completely new NBA Draft outlook for both players.

When ESPN’s Jonathan Givony published a mock draft in late December, neither of them were projected to be drafted in the 2023 NBA Draft.  Both Jackson-Davis and Hood-Schifino dealt with lower back issues throughout that month, causing both to miss time, and at least in the case of Jackson-Davis, hindered their performance.

But Givony updated his mock draft two weeks ago, and had both Hood-Schifino and Jackson-Davis being selected, at the No. 20 and No. 43 spots, respectively.

And since then the IU duo’s climb has seemingly continued.

Sam Vecenie of the Athletic is one of better known and respected NBA Draft analysts.  This week he projected Hood-Schifino will be the last lottery pick in June.  That 14th pick belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers in Vecenie’s mock.

This is what Vecenie had to say about the recent play of the IU freshman guard:

“Hood-Schifino is a big-time riser for scouts over the last month largely due to his well-rounded game,” Vecenie wrote.  “He defends well across the backcourt and is largely responsible for initiating the offense for Indiana. He dishes out 4.3 assists per game and plays like a veteran despite his age. The raw numbers mute his scoring impact. Over the last 14 games, Hood-Schifino has averaged nearly 15 points, three rebounds and four assists on strong efficiency numbers. It’s a bit of a roller coaster in terms of production game by game, but he brings it on defense and plays a strong, team-oriented game every night. I’m a buyer on him. His versatility of skill set should allow him to work his way into being a super high-level rotation player who helps teams win for as long as the shot holds up. He’s already playing that role at Indiana next to Trayce Jackson-Davis.”

Vecenie also sees Jackson-Davis getting draft in June, and interestingly enough, he projects the IU big man to the Lakers as well, with the 39th overall pick.

Jackson-Davis is eligible to return to Indiana next season, and of course Hood-Schifino has several years of college eligibility remaining.

Both players are making good money off their name, image and likeness while in Bloomington.  Probably more than what they could make in the NBA’s G-League.

But it would be difficult to imagine either player returning to college next season if they are confident these recent projections reflect reality.

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