At least two IU basketball players are on the radar of NBA scouts and executives for the league’s draft in June.
But in the eyes of ESPN NBA Draft analyst Jonathan Givony, neither would be selected if the event were held today.
Givony released his latest two-round projection earlier this week, and Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jalen Hood-Schifino were both on the outside looking in.
Of course there is a long way to go in the 2022-23 season, and both IU starters have dealt with nagging back injuries to start the season. To highlight that point, Hood-Schifino was projected to be selected by another well known NBA Draft analyst in late November.
In his Nov. 25 NBA Draft Top-100 Big Board, the Athletic’s Sam Vecenie had Hood-Schifino as the No. 53 overall player, and Jackson-Davis No. 70. There will be 58 draft picks in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Both Jackson-Davis and Hood-Schifino have shown flashes of brilliance when their bodies are cooperating.
Jackson-Davis scored 30 points on 13-of-16 shooting in a road win against Xavier in November. That effort looked a lot like his four-game stretch in March last season when he averaged 26.3 points and 8.5 rebounds while leading IU to the NCAA Tournament. The senior forward has missed three games this season with a back injury, and he also dealt with a right thumb injury over the first six weeks. Even when playing, Jackson-Davis has not looked 100 percent since suffering the back issue against Miami (OH) on Nov. 20.
On the season, Jackson-Davis is averaging 16.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.7 blocks per game. Because of the COVID season, he has another year of college eligibility in 2023-24 if he wants to use it. Although the data is not public, it is likely he is making more money on name, image and likeness deals at IU than he would make in the NBA G-league. But if it came down to it, Jackson-Davis would likely choose to pursue his professional career after four seasons in Bloomington.
Jackson-Davis intended to participate in the 2022 NBA Draft Combine before he tested positive for COVID-19 in the days leading up to the event. He announced his return to IU shortly thereafter.
After Indiana’s NBA Pro Day in October, one NBA scout called Hood-Schifino the best draft prospect on the team.
The 19-year-old Hood-Schifino scored 12 points in the first 11 minutes of Indiana’s high profile win over North Carolina, and lately he has addressed what was likely the biggest concern in the eyes of the NBA. Hood-Schifino has made 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) from 3-point range over his last four games. Perimeter shooting is the main part of the 6-foot-5 point guard’s game that isn’t clearly projectable to the league, but he’s looked the part of a confident shooter of late.
The Pittsburgh native’s season was disrupted by his own back injury that caused him to miss games at Rutgers and against Nebraska and Arizona.
For the season, Hood-Schifino is averaging 10.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in 10 games while shooting 41.1 percent from the field overall, and 37.9 percent from behind the arc. With fellow backcourt starter Xavier Johnson projected to be out for a while, Hood-Schifino will have the opportunity to play his way into the draft.
IU is in the middle of a 12-day break between games during which time it hopes both of its stars will have enough time to rest their bodies and get ready for the final two to three months of action.
Indiana has not had a player selected in the NBA Draft since Romeo Langford in 2019.
The 2023 NBA Draft is scheduled for June 22, 2023 at Barclays Center in New York.
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