Indiana at Penn State, Wednesday January 11, 2023. Photo by Garrett Ewald

Trayce Jackson-Davis is dominating the glass for IU

As Trayce Jackson-Davis has flourished into one of the top players in the Big Ten and the nation, his dominance has perhaps been clearest on the glass.

The senior has controlled the boards for Indiana all season, averaging 11.3 rebounds for game. That ranks second in the Big Ten behind Purdue’s Zach Edey. But since January 1, Jackson-Davis has hauled in 13.9 rebounds per game. In that same time frame, Edey is averaging 12.5.

As Jackson-Davis has moved past back issues that plagued him earlier in the season, he’s been a force inside.

“He’s doing some incredible things for our team. Rebounding is a big part of it,” IU head coach Mike Woodson said. “He’s been tremendous in terms of rebounding the ball.”

This has been, by far, the best rebounding season of Jackson-Davis’ illustrious career. His career average is 9.0 per game, and that’s also the best single-season average he’s had before this year. And he’s just taken it to another level since January 1, with his four best individual rebounding games coming in that span. He set a career-high with 24 boards during IU’s loss against Northwestern.

Jackson-Davis is at 1,046 career rebounds entering Wednesday’s rematch with the Wildcats, with 249 this season. He’s 35 away from matching his personal best single-season mark, and more significantly, he’s 45 away from tying Alan Henderson’s program record of 1,091 rebounds.

He’s already become IU’s leading rebounder in Big Ten games, currently at 676. He passed Walt Bellamy for the top spot during IU’s win over Rutgers.

Woodson attributed his productivity on the glass to maturity. And Jackson-Davis has taken that sort of approach to his rebounding.

“I think it’s how long I’ve been here,” Jackson-Davis said after the Rutgers game, “and just kind of knowing how players are playing me, if I’m watching, if I know a shot is going to go up, getting inside possession, just stuff of that nature, being smart and kind of timing where the ball is going to be.”

The Big Ten has taken notice of the senior’s exceptional work. He was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week on Monday, becoming the first player in conference history to earn that honor in four consecutive weeks. This was his seventh career Big Ten Player of the Week award.

Rebounding isn’t the only list Jackson-Davis is rapidly climbing at IU. He already set the program record for blocks, and recently became the sixth Hoosier to reach 2,000 career points. He’s 29 points away from tying Woodson for fifth on IU’s all-time scoring list.

The scoring record is too lofty to achieve this season. But should Jackson-Davis reach the rebounding mark, it would give him two major program records. He’s already in rarified air with his IU career, and there could be even more history to come.

Jackson-Davis knows how important his rebounding is and continues to prioritize it.

“I just felt like I try to have a knack for the ball,” Jackson-Davis said. “I know Coach Woody, what he always says, the board man gets paid. I just try to get rebounds, whether it be offensively, defensively, just try to time where the ball is going to be.”

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