If you see a familiar face with a familiar name on Thursday evening, yes, he’s who you think he is.
Indiana hosts St. Francis in its second of two preseason exhibition games, and for the second straight contest there will be noteworthy IU connections on the opposing side.
On Saturday, Marian Athletics Director and IU hall of fame member Steve Downing returned to Bloomington.
Tomorrow, St. Francis junior guard Brayton Bailey will play in Bloomington — in the building where his father Damon produced his own IU hall of fame career.
“It’s great, it’s going to be a great experience, a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Brayton said this week in an interview on WANE TV in Fort Wayne.
Brayton started in 30 of 31 games a year ago while averaging 6.4 points per game for the Cougars. He started in their season opener last week and scored 10 points.
At 6-foot-2, Brayton is around the same size as Damon, wears No. 22 like his father, and he also attended the same high school — Bedford North Lawrence — just 30 miles south of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
With Damon serving as an assistant coach, Brayton averaged 20.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists as a high school senior in 2019-20. He finished his career at Bedford North Lawrence as the No. 2 scorer on the all-time list for the school with 1,579 points — behind his father’s all-time Indiana high school boys record of 3,134 points.
While he’s had a good basketball career, Brayton hasn’t been in the spotlight like his father. Few have ever had the kind of attention that was heaped upon Damon at the high school level.
Damon Bailey was featured in national publications and the book Season on the Brink before ever playing a high school game after former IU coach Bob Knight watched him play as an eighth grader. He led teams to three national AAU championships and Bedford North Lawrence High School to the state’s Final Four three out of four years. As a senior, a national record crowd of 41,046 watched Bailey and his teammates top Concord for the state championship. He was named USA Today’s High School Player of the Decade.
At Indiana, Bailey played in 108 victories including an IU-record 11 NCAA tournament victories. Bailey’s career as a Hoosier ended in the third round of NCAA Tournament play his senior year. He averaged 19.6 points per game that season and finished No. 5 on IU’s career points list with 1,741. He was All-Big Ten and a third team All-American selection.
Indiana and St. Francis tip at 7 p.m. Eastern Thursday on BTN Plus.
See also: Damon Bailey on the Indiana basketball hall of fame podcast
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