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Indiana basketball season in review: Trayce Jackson-Davis

Thanks, Trayce

Alex Paul

The hardest thing for me about watching the last few seconds of Indiana’s game against Miami was knowing that it would be Trayce Jackson-Davis’s last game in a Hoosier uniform. He gave the program so much and it felt like he deserved to keep on playing forever.

Trayce’s final season in Bloomington was his most productive, statistically speaking. In his fourth year, he led Indiana with 20.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game and finished second behind Xavier Johnson with 4 assists per game. Each of these were career-highs for Trayce.

For a stretch of the season, it felt like Trayce was breaking some kind of record every time he stepped on the court - Big Ten Player of the Week honors, stat lines that haven’t been seen in 50 years, program records. Truly too many accomplishments to even hope to remember or list here.

Most notable will be the fact that he ends his career as Indiana’s all time leader in blocks (270) and rebounds (1,143). He also sits at third in scoring with 2,258 points, passing his coach Mike Woodson in a 26 point performance against Illinois on February 18th.

Trayce had been Indiana’s best player for most of these past four years in Bloomington, but this past season he elevated his game to be one of the most dominant players in the whole country. He was named one of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy, an award no Hoosier has won since Calbert Cheaney did in 1993.

Part of what made Trayce so dangerous this year was his improvement as a passer and ball handler. His progress was evident early, as he became just the third Hoosier to record a triple-double on December 7th against Nebraska, with a casual 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

In past years, one of Trayce’s weaknesses was that he depended too much on Indiana’s guards, who sometimes struggled to get him the ball. This year, Trayce demonstrated an ability to run the offense a bit himself, catching passes outside of the paint and beating defenders off the dribble to either pass or get to the rim himself.

For all the skill he added, he didn’t lose any of his ability to throw down some of the most devastating dunks in college basketball (sorry Joey Hauser).

This season also gave us a chance to learn more about Trayce, the person. After Indiana completed its season sweep of Purdue, Matt Painter revealed that Trayce had reached out to offer his condolences after Caleb Swanigan’s tragic passing.

There’s no denying that he is leaving the program in a better place than he found it in, having made the tournament in back to back seasons after missing it every year during the Archie Miller tenure.

Not only did Trayce choose to stay at Indiana through the coaching change, but his career also spanned the implementation of NIL rules and the early days of the transfer portal. Trayce remained the home-state hero, bringing Indiana into the NIL spotlight with his Adidas deal.

It’s impossible to put into words just how much Trayce Jackson-Davis has meant to Indiana University as a whole, especially since his recruitment of his brother to the football team has been one of the only bright spots in an otherwise bleak football offseason.

Instead, I just want to say thank you, Trayce. Go show the league what you’re made of.